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"Can I have a fan-led review White Paper for Christmas, Santa?" (© Alamy)

A year in the life of the FSA (2022)

If you’re after a serious, comprehensive look at the Football Supporters’ Association’s work, we recommend you download our Annual Review which was published in July, and features our work from the first half of the year.

However, if you’re looking for a slightly more shambolic annual rundown, cobbled together through a haze of eggnog, then you’re in the right place! Read on…

January

At the start of the year we learned amazing things about plastic seats:

Supporters from Rochdale and Oldham Athletic also joined forces at a march, organised by Dale Supporters’ Trust, in response to a legal claim against the club and trust by former investors Morton House MGT.  Supporter strength triumphed.

February

A reminder that we’re keen to hear from any fan groups who’d like to kickstart Fans for Diversity initiatives and/or get involved with My City, My Shirt collaborations. Well, in this case My County, My Shirt…

March

“Dear European Super League, please go away.”

April

Our long campaign in favour of standing at football has succeeded and a report in April from the Sports Ground Safety Authority found safe standing “a positive impact on spectator safety” and improved the matchday experience.

Another big piece of work came to fruition as we launched the FSA’s Women’s Game Strategy which aims to develop women’s football as a whole, ensure supporters are represented in key decision making and push for positive change, giving women’s football the profile it deserves.

May

In Parliament the future King Charles gave the Queen’s Speech on behalf of the then monarch, and committed to a new independent regulator of English football on behalf of the Government.  You can read the constant drip-drip of FSA fan-led review stories here.

“Proposals will be published to establish an independent regulator of English football”

Prince Charles in Parliament.

June

Another long-running FSA campaign eventually saw the introduction of the £30 away cap and the Premier League committed to its extension in June. The cap came about after years of campaigning and lobbying by our members across the country and it has saved fans a lot of money over the years. 

Elsewhere our newest women’s game survey kicked out some interesting stats:

July

July was all about the Lionesses’ Euro triumph and we helped fans attending games by producing our guidebook, in association with SheKicks, and getting our Fans’ Embassy team out and about on-the-ground to dish it out.

Beth Mead and Ella Toone celebrate after the Euros semi-final (REUTERS/Carl Recine)

Elsewhere the French Senate made clear that supporters were not to blame for May’s Paris chaos – its report completely exonerating Liverpool and Real Madrid fans. The report found that the authorities wrongly pinned the blame on supporters in an attempt to “divert attention” from the failings of the state and competition organisers UEFA.

August

TV fixture fiascos were a constant through the year and August was no exception with Chelsea and West Ham United fans accusing the Premier League and its broadcaster partners of treating supporters with “complete contempt” after their game was moved with just five days’ notice. “The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and The West Ham United Supporters’ Trust are appalled, yet not surprised, at the predictable farce surrounding the scheduling for the fixture this weekend,” said our members.

Raheem Sterling scores at Stamford Bridge (UK Sports Pics Ltd/Alamy Live News)

September 

Plans for a review of the women’s game, led by former-England international and now broadcaster Karen Carney, were announced. Its primary focus will be on audience growth, financial sustainability and existing structures in the women’s game (including prize monies, administration and facilities). You can see the FSA’s recommendations here.

The Queen’s passing saw games across the country called off and we rounded up information on refund policies and consumer rights. We didn’t think it was the right decision. 

An FSA delegation featuring fan reps from Blackpool and Charlton Athletic met with the new sports minister Stuart Andrew. He confirmed the Government would press ahead with reform.

October

We found the extent the cost of living crisis was to hit attendances at non-league, with more than half of fans (57.7%) saying it had already impacted on how much money they had available to spend on football, according to the results of a joint survey between the FSA and the Non-League Paper. In news that will worry non-league clubs, around one in four fans (23.9%) said they expected to attend fewer home fixtures over the winter period, and half (49.9%) saying they expected to attend fewer away fixtures as a result of rising prices.

Western League Division One match between Welton Rovers and Radstock Town (Alamy)

October is also Black History Month and the Jack Leslie Campaign unveiled the statue for which they had been fundraising. Jack was a prolific goalscorer for Plymouth Argyle in the 1920s but a somewhat forgotten figure until a group of supporters got together and raised more than £100,000. In his day he was denied an England call up solely because of the colour of his skin.

November 

A busy month! Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne was crowned Men’s Player of the Year at the FSA Awards in association with BeGambleAware, while Arsenal and England forward Beth Mead won the Women’s Player of the Year award for the second time. With more than 250,000 votes cast, they are the largest supporter-led awards in the UK.

Ian Wright is interviewed at the FSA Awards (FSA / Matt Walder)

Ian Wright is interviewed at the FSA Awards (FSA / Matt Walder)

The Fan Led Review: One Year On called for urgent implementation of the review’s recommendations – an independent regulator with powers to block English clubs from joining a European Super League.

Further proposals would give supporters a bigger voice at all clubs and protect football stadiums, club badges, location, colours and competitions via a “golden share” held by democratic supporters’ groups.

Around FSA-member 130 supporters’ groups gave evidence to the original Fan Led Review panel with a clear message that action was needed. We expect a White Paper in January.

The World Cup also brought a wave of fan activity around human rights and LGBT+ issues – something the FSA has been talking about since 2010 when we asked if fans should boycott Qatar. We made our position clear again:

December

We sign off the year with a picture of Lionel Messi for two reasons: 1. To congratulate Argentina for their World Cup win and 2. To highlight the work of Labour Behind the Label, a campaign group that works to improve worker conditions – they say World Cup sponsors adidas have “a shocking record of wage theft, labour rights violations, and harassment in their supply chain” and are calling on the German sports brand to sign a binding agreement on workers’ rights.

Argentina's Lionel Messi at Qatar 2022 (© Alamy)

Argentina’s Lionel Messi at Qatar 2022 (© Alamy)

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