Below is a joint statement from the chairs of the Football Supporters' Federation and Supporters Direct following on from meetings of the interim board overseeing the merger of the two organisations:
Over the last three weeks, the interim board of the new organisation – made up of three representatives from each of the boards of both SD and the FSF – have now met twice with both chief executives, to progress the formation of the single fans organisation agreed by both AGMs in July.
Our target is for the new organisation to be operational by January 1st 2019, and we are working to the text of the proposal both of our AGMs agreed (including the amendment at the FSF AGM).
Within that proposal, there were some specific decisions which were passed to the interim board to take, and other areas where there are a series of practical steps that need to be put into effect.
A number of operational actions are being undertaken by both chief executives, with the interim Board monitoring and guiding as necessary.
Bringing two organisations together will inevitably involve some complexity, and we wanted to ensure that members of both organisations are provided with an update on progress to date, and any issues which might arise.
It is our intention that, following meetings of the interim board, we will provide a short update on the key issues and decisions made. If you have any questions on this summary, please contact either of us, and we will do our best to respond.
The main points discussed and agreed at the first meetings of the interim board on Wednesday 19th September and Wednesday 3rd October were as follows:
- The interim board agreed that the recruitment of a chief executive would begin imminently, and the appointment panel will be chaired by an independent person. In line with the proposal agreed by both AGMs, this post will be restricted to the current chief executives.
- The interim board agreed that the new organisation would be incorporated as a Community Benefit Society (CBS) and be registered as such with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, due to the timescales involved in incorporating a new organisation, initially it will be necessary to incorporate as a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG). There is also a question about whether one of the objectives agreed by both AGMs , which can only be changed or amended by the members, would be accepted by the FCA for a CBS. The interim board is being guided by expert legal advice in this area.
- The interim Board agreed that the new organisation would initially continue membership of organisations which SD and FSF are currently members of, with decisions on future membership beyond then for the board of the new organisation.
- The interim Board has had detailed discussion on a constitution for the new organisation, based on the proposal agreed by both AGMs, and initial work would be done by members of the interim Board, with specialist advice from lawyer Kevin Jaquiss, who is expert both in constitutions and familiar with supporters organisations.
- A mission statement, incorporating the aims and objectives set out in the proposal agreed by both AGMS, will also be developed.
- The interim board discussed the ability of trusts and supporter organisations in other sports to be allied to the new organisation, potentially through attendance at one of the networks. It was agreed to work further on this.
- It was agreed that as part of the transition, existing networks may need to elect representatives ready to serve on the council of the new organisation, but to do so prior to the new organisation having been formally constituted, to enable the new organisation to continue important work in support of those networks.
- It was agreed to co-ordinate the new organisation’s financial year end to Monday 31st December.
- Issues of naming of the new organisation, branding, social media presence and related issues will be discussed further by identified members of the interim board.
- An initial member meeting of the new organisation is being planned for Thursday 22nd November, in London.
- Richard Irving (currently SD’s company secretary) has been agreed to act as the secretary to the interim board.
- The interim Board will convene regularly, either in person or via fortnightly telephone conference calls, to assess progress towards the new organisation.
Malcom Clarke, FSF chair
Tom Greatrex, SD chair