Knowledge is power and the FSA regularly surveys members on a variety of subjects to even better understand what fans think. This information isn’t meant to set FSA policy – that is the job of our Annual General Meeting and the National Council – but it can be a valuable tool in influencing their decisions.
Occasionally unexpected issues come to the fore on which we might not have existing policy, and in that scenario it can be useful to gather fans’ and/or members’ views so that our democratically-elected National Council can make an informed decision.
A good example of that was the FA’s proposal to sell Wembley Stadium to Shahid Khan, owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC. It was so leftfield that no-one had an established policy on the issue, but we were quickly able to gather the opinions of more than 2,000 fans who took part in our consultation, with a majority saying they did not want to see Wembley sold.
The year before that more than 3,000 members gave us their views on the EFL’s “Whole Game Solution”, which proposed to move FA Cup rounds to midweek, alter the size of the leagues and introduce a winter break. Polls can be a useful tool too, such as when 91% of fans told us they opposed League 3.
In addition we can use our experience to build surveys for our affiliated or associated supporters’ groups, if it would be useful to their local standing or wider campaign work.
Recent examples of that include a survey by the Red & White Army which saw 13,000+ supporters have their say in renaming Sunderland AFC’s South Stand and WHUISA’s 2019 survey which gathered views on a wide range of matchday issues.
Older, more campaign-specific examples of this include surveys on standing at football with Arsenal Supporters’ Trust and Everton Supporters’ Trust. We also do club-specific surveys to gather fans’ views on, for instance, policing methods at the Sheffield derby.
We can work with your fan group to build the survey, with the onus on you to promote it to your members, although we will also send it to FSA individual members who support your club, and publish the results on our site. We can also promote membership of your fan group while doing so.
If that sounds like it would be a useful resource get in touch.
Every few years we do a “state of the nation” style survey amongst football supporters. This is a useful check on FSA policy (is it still in line with current views?) and gives us an opportunity to push relevant subjects into the media spotlight for debate. Our last National Survey in 2017 told us that fans believe clubs focus too much on their global brand along with a whole host of other interesting facts and figures.
We work with partner organisations to showcase their work and highlight issues of importance. A big one lately has been the issue of gambling and football, with GambleAware’s BetRegret campaign highlighting the issue of problem gambling. Only 13% of respondents agreed that they are (or would be) happy for their club to be sponsored by a gambling company.
In 2018 the Stand Up For Choice survey, a record breaking piece of research on standing at football published with the EFL, showed an overwhelming number of fans support reforming the all-seater legislation. The survey received more than 33,000 responses and was the first time we had done such work with the EFL.