As previously reported, LOFT made a submission to the EFL setting out all the reasons why ticket sales should resume for Leyton Orient fans. We hope that our efforts and those of the Club in making representations had an effect on the outcome.
Although the EFL did not take us up on our offer to meet to discuss the ticketing situation while they made their decision, we have contacted them about possible consequences arising from the pitch invasion that took place at the last home match.
There remains a possibility that disciplinary action could be taken against Leyton Orient by both the FA and EFL.
We will seek to support the Club's efforts to mitigate this risk and to try and avoid such an outcome. Whatever happens with the ownership of the Club in the coming weeks, the reality is that a fine of, say £50,000 would be an unwelcome additional burden to a Club already on its knees.
One of the key factors in avoiding further sanctions by the football authorities will be avoiding further pitch invasion protests. Apart from possible fines or other sanctions against the Club, there is also a significantly greater risk of personal sanction by Blackpool FC. Blackpool's owners have a history of aggressively pursuing any individual responsible for any acts of trespass or criminal damage, both through the criminal courts and through civil action.
Given Blackpool's treatment of their own fans, and that the ticketing issues originally came about as a result of Blackpool's "security concerns", we can fully expect them to take such action against any Leyton Orient fans going on the pitch or damaging the stadium in any way. Any such actions would also be at odds with the excellent relationship between the two sets of fans, as exemplified by our peaceful joint protest in November and the fact that Leyton Orient fans have been asked to lead the Judgement Day 3 march in Blackpool before Saturday’s game.
LOFT completely supports the right of all football fans to protest legitimately against bad ownership and poor governance, and we absolutely understand the anger and frustration felt by O's fans at the way Leyton Orient Football Club has been damaged by its current owner. Leyton Orient fans can send a powerful message of protest by taking part in the JD3 march alongside football fans from all over the country.
The march will arrive at Blackpool's ground long before any reasonable time that supporters may be asked to take their seats, and we have no doubt that the Orient travelling support will do the Club proud on Saturday, as it has always done throughout its 112 years in the Football League.
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