“It is just 5 weeks since the Premier League announced its plans for clubs to play a 39th game abroad. The response of supporters at all levels has been loud and clear – that this proposal is wrong and should not be allowed to go ahead, a view which has been widely supported in the football media.
A delegation of fans chosen at regional campaign meetings met the Premier League to present our views. Thousands of fans have signed our on-line petition and fans have organised activities aimed at their own clubs and PL sponsors up and down the country. Some of these have taken place whilst others are being planned for the future.
I have met the new FA Chairman, Lord Triesman, individually to discuss this. We produced a briefing document for the FA Council which you can find in our press release section and, as the supporter representative on the FA Council, I addressed the Council with the following on 11 March.
At that meeting, and in my private meeting with him, Lord Triesman re-affirmed the FA’s position that the Game39 proposal cannot proceed for a range of reasons, including the effect on other competitions; the effect on international relationships; the integrity and symmetry of the league; and last, but by no means least, the opinion of fans.
believe that the large majority of the FA Council, the “Parliament of
Football”, shares our view on this issue. It has been encouraging to
note that the views of supporters has been one of the key reasons why
the FA has rejected the proposal.
We now have a voice at the FA; we are using it, and it is being heard.
We believe that the Game 39 proposal is now effectively dead. We are therefore calling a halt to the current Game 39 campaign in order to enable us to concentrate on the many other issues of great concern to fans.
However, we believe that it is quite likely that the Premier League will come forward at some point with further plans to play competitive games abroad. If and when that happens, fans can rest assured that we will oppose them again and lead a campaign to stop them.
I am confident that, under the leadership of Lord Triesman, the executive staff and Council members of the FA are serious about listening to fans and would listen to us again if and when any further proposals are put forward.
Let us be clear. “It’s the fans wot won it”. We would like to thank all supporters who have campaigned on this issue, which marks a new development in supporters making their voice heard, and one on which we must build. Together we can win some more.Malcolm Clarke FSF Chair