EFL Fan Forum

MOMS joined fellow Midlands football supporters in attending the EFL Fan Forum on Monday night as it touched down in Birmingham.

The forum lasted four hours and included discussions on the EFL, it’s role and finances, the new broadcast deal, developments with the League Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, and recent rule changes, including the transfer window and the full strength policy.

EFL Trusts’ Michelle Robbins gave a presentation on Clubs’ Community Trusts, while former referee Chris Foy was also in attendance for an interesting presentation on changes in the rules that referees have had to deal with and also the impact of VAR.

Other guests included the various EFL trophies, including the League Cup (which Villa last won in 1996) and the old Division One trophy (now the Championship trophy), which Villa last won when it was the reward for winning the top tier league in 1981.

 

Forum Main Take Aways

Promotion Urgency

If Aston Villa ever needed a reminder why they need to get promoted, it’s the fact that the EFL total turnover revenue from broadcasting and sponsorship was circa £136m in the past year. A ballpark figure for what promotion is worth for a club is £100m+, which gives you the difference in scope of being privy to Premier League TV money and remaining in the EFL.

While the EFL has an improved £600m TV rights deal from 2019/20 for five seasons, which is a 36% increase year on year, it’s peanuts compared to the Premier League’s TV deal.

Villa will remain stagnant in the EFL and you can kiss goodbye to any North Stand redevelopment and other improvements.

UK Streaming

From next season live streaming will be available in the UK and Ireland for League matches via iFollow, outside of the blocked hours of 3pm-5pm Saturday. So basically, you’ll be able to stream any games not on at 3pm Saturday, that aren’t on Sky Sports.

This season only overseas fans have had access to EFL match streaming, but now everyone will do.

Aston Villa didn’t opt into EFL’s iFollow service, preferring to provide their on service, but the same will apply, if Villa don’t get promoted.

The EFL had 10k+ oversea’s subscribers to respective club’s iFollow season passes, while 60k+ individual match passes were sold.

Carabao Cup

Despite the EFL stating it was ‘being and innovative’ with the draw process, the assembled supporters were far from impressed by the draws taking place in the middle of the night in the home country of the sponsor.

While the EFL were seeking both overseas interest in the competition and to please the headline sponsor, the credibility of the competition in its home country is hardly going to benefit.

Fans warned that it shouldn’t take away the focus from football fans in this country, who amongst other things, still enjoy cup draws.

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Pyrotechnics

There have been some progress in Europe in developing safe pyro and controlled pyro displays, but in English football, it’s very much a zero tolerance approach in trying to rid the game of any pyro.

The EFL recognises it has a collective role to work with clubs to deter supporters from committing pyro offences.

The introduction of Club Charter on Pyrotechnics means all clubs will issue a three-year ban to any supporter if they are found to be in possession of a banned device when entering an EFL venue.




Owners Conduct Review

The EFL are seeking to do an owners conduct review. It will entail club consultation to understand specific concerns regarding existing regulations and if reform is required for both clubs and supporters. One proposition is action should be taken against individuals rather than clubs.

MOMS has heard over the years from some industry figures that the fit and proper persons test for buying an English club isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, so will this be more seemingly empty posturing or will it have meaningful consequences?

Fixture Changes

Whether it be long distances for away fans in midweek fixtures or fixture changes for TV, the fixture issue caused the most concern from the gathered supporters at the EFL Fan Forum. It seems that the core EFL thinking is mainly dictated by TV money and, as the EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey previously put it, by consciously prioritising bigger local fixtures at the weekend.

More on the inconvenience fixture changes bring to supporters from the EFL Fan Forum

UTV

They’ll be a further EFL Fan Forum in London during April