FSF Cymru meeting
INFORMATION uploaded from FSF cymru web site.
Minutes FSF CYMRU/FAW meeting
April 28th, 2017, Cardiff City Stadium, 3 pm.
Paul Corkrey, Vince Alm, Kevin Davies FSF Cymru, Adam Jones FSF Gogledd Cymru, Colin Lewis, Allyson Rees, supporters. Ian Gwyn Hughes, Rob Dowling and Lucy Mason FAW. Wayne Palmer Welsh Police, Wayne Nash FAW Security officer and Lewis Brencher Head of communications, Arriva trains Wales.
1. ATW trains from North Wales for games in Cardiff update
2. Republic of Ireland trip, feedback
3. Serbia reconnaissance trip, planning and ticket news
4. Membership update and benefits
5. Update on remaining qualifying games both home and away
6. Team GB
7. Match day programme
8. Abuse cases affecting young players
9. Any other business possible future friendlies
ATW trains from North Wales for games in Cardiff update
Lewis Brencher attended the meeting and said that the FAW/FSF survey had been a success with over 700 fans responding, this will now give ATW confidence moving forward to the next stage which is train planning, station allocation but most vitally an accurate price to offer the service for supporters. We asked about possible sponsorship and the FAW said it could investigate this.
Once the final pricings are known another survey will be sent out to supporters in North Wales but a final decision will be made at least 12 weeks before the next game.
Republic of Ireland trip feedback
The FSF had received many complaints from members and fans in general about the Aviva stadium these included;
• Piped music during the game over the speakers
• Getting in and out of the stadium
• Directions given by stewards
• Disabled fans having to make the long trek back along Bath Avenue to the disabled car park after exit gates to the shortest routes along the river were closed
• Poor views and the cost of entering the stadium
We understood that this game was not the control of the FAW but wanted to provide them with feedback from the fans. The FAW confirmed that the piped music issue will be brought up at the next international management meeting, the FAW said it was the first time they had ever experienced this.
With regards to the customer services issues the FSF need to put together a formal letter that the FAW will forward on to the Football Association of Ireland. The FSF would like to thank the FAI for their assistance in allowing flags to be put up in the stadium during the afternoon and for the cooperation, both before and during the trip.
Serbia reconnaissance trip, planning and ticket news
It was explained to the meeting that the FAW visited the Red Star stadium in Belgrade recently and were given a warm welcome and complete access to all areas of the stadium by the Serbian FA. Unfortunately, the standard of safety and provision of basic facilities for supporters was extremely poor and would not be allowed in the UK but the ground has a licence from FIFA to stage the game so the FA had to take that into account when deciding how many tickets to accept in the 3,700-capacity area. Whilst wanting to ensure as many fans as possible could have access to tickets the safety of the supporters had to be the main consideration and it was decided to take 2,200 tickets for the members. It is a duty of care issue and responsibility of the FAW to look after the best interest of its members.
The main reasons for the risk assessment figure of 2,200 were based on the following reasons;
The access into and out of the away area is just a ten-foot-wide door way leading into a narrow passage, there are no turnstiles and everyone will be searched on entry and there will be ticket checks, coins and small objects like makeup will be confiscated and the whole process will take a long time so arrive early to avoid missing the kick off.
The stadium is very steep without any safety barriers and low backed seats which are placed in just two rows each side of just one central gangway, this is penned in with fences each side and a six-foot-deep spiked moat at the front which prevents pitch encroachment but also restricts speed of exit and if an emergency happened it is estimated that even with the lower figure of 2,200 it would take at least thirty minutes to evacuate the area.
The FSF, whilst always wanting to get as many tickets as possible for the fans, could not argue against the safety risk assessment having also visiting the stadium, but urged the FAW to try to ensure that tickets are distributed fairly and to people who are going to Belgrade, with the fear being members getting tickets for loyalty points just because they are costing just £3.50 with no intention of travelling.
Collecting views from the fans resulted in suggestions including, everyone collecting in Belgrade, not giving loyalty points for this game and random checks on lead applicants conducted by the FAW ticket office two weeks before the fixture.
A long debate took place but the FSF could not provide evidence of this being a wide scale problem, just the feedback they were getting and their gut instinct and the FAW with limited resources didn't want to stretch those resources on a hunch but conceded there could be a problem. They agreed to send out approximately 200 random checks to members who have applied for tickets two weeks before the fixture, these will be in addition to the normal flight and hotel information that everyone must send and will be more thorough and probably need actual proof of flight and hotel bookings. Failure to do that will result in no tickets being issued and possible deduction of all current loyalty points. People found to be selling on tickets in person or by social media will also possibly lose all current loyal points, it is against the FAW rules to sell on tickets and the FA ticket office will decide what the appropriate punishment will be in each case.
On return from Serbia, a full review will take place of how many people entered the Welsh end of the stadium compared to tickets sold and if there is a noticeable discrepancy than further measures will be locked at for future games which could mean everyone having to collect at venues.
Update on remaining games
No news yet about Georgia or Moldova but the FAW will be making site visits before the end of June, there should be plenty of ticket availability for both matches although Moldova only has a capacity of 10,000 they average about 6,000 for international games. The stadium in Georgia holds over 50,000.
There are no friendlies planned for this year although the team will attend a training camp in Portugal prior to the Serbia game. The Toulon tournament for the Wales under 19 takes place end of May beginning of June in France and Wales are grouped with Bahrain, Ivory coast and France, please see FAW website for more details.
Many fans have complained about the statement from CEO Jonathon Ford regarding his acceptance of a team GB women's team, even though most Welsh fans seem to oppose the idea, the FSF believe it may be worth canvassing the 30,000 members to give the CEO a clear mandate that properly represents the views of the fans.
Ian Gwyn Hughes said "that Team GB was discussed for the women's game as part of the ongoing discussion on broadening the appeal of the sport.
Any decision on Team GB would have to go before the FAW Council."
Match day programme
Real concern that the programme will not be produced for home games after this campaign, Duncan Jardine has suggested a few ways of making it profitable and others have expressed disappointment that the programmes are not easily available on match day and always seem to be sold out. Would it be possible to canvas the 30,000 FAW members about their feelings regarding the match day programme before pulling the plug?
Rob Dowling, the FAW new media and publications manager, said nothing was decided yet and more meetings to review the match day programme issue are planned, he did say that if it did continue he wanted to revert to the normal sized programme and relook at the content. Again, this will be decided by the FAW council.
Abuse of young players who play football in Wales.
Adam from FSF Gogledd Cymru wanted to bring this up following the reports in north Wales about PC smith who was abused by coaches at a young age.
The FAW said this was a domestic issue rather than an international one but do take this very seriously, the police also agreed that was true and confirmed that he FAW and the NSPCC Cymru/Wales are urging players and others involved in football from grassroots to the professional game to contact a dedicated 24-hour hotline if they have any concerns.
"The hotline number is 0800 023 2642.
"Should any individual wish to discuss any issues in relation to this matter, they may also contact the FAW Safeguarding Team on 02920 435845/ 435862/ 435873."
Any other business
Only that Allyson had contacted sports clothes manufacturers about the availability of sportswear for women and they said it was available but it was up to the FAW to order it. Ian Davis was not at the meeting but this will be raised with him.
Meeting closed 4.30pm.
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Posted: Wednesday 3rd May 2017