Your basket

Join The FSA

Fans have say on club engagement

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Supporter groups up and down the country have been asked about their thoughts on how clubs are dealing with new guidelines on fan engagement. 

Since 2016, clubs have been required to meet with their supporters to discuss club matters under guidelines recommended by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This “structured dialogue” is now in the English Football League (EFL) rulebook.

Now research carried out by the Football Supporters’ Federation and Supporters Direct shows that most clubs are engaging with their supporters and fielding appropriate club officials (such as owners, directors or senior executives).

Our survey had 75 responses from supporter organisations across the 92 clubs. Supporters told us that 92% of clubs know about structured dialogue, 85% of clubs meet with supporters at least twice a year and 86% provide senior officials for the meetings.

However, the survey did reveal some issues – almost half of supporters asked (48%) said their club misunderstand structured dialogue or didn’t act on its outcomes.

Additionally, more than a third (34%) told us that strategic issues can’t be adequately discussed at these meetings – 33% felt that not enough information was provided to supporters and 18% said the meetings were the wrong size for constructive discussions.

Clubs that have supporter representatives at board level fared better than average – 85% said their club understands and acts upon the structured dialogue commitment. While 100% said they felt that the meetings were carried out with the right senior representatives.

On pitch fortunes appears to have no bearing on how fans think their club is engaging with them – with no significant difference in feedback from supporters of relegated teams, promoted teams or those finishing in the top four of the Premier League.

The FSF and Supporters Direct will continue to work with supporter groups, clubs and the football authorities to ensure the structured dialogue recommendations are adhered to and improved upon.

Thanks to Alex Donohue for the image used in this story. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.


Related Articles

Away Fans Survey 2017-18: fans have their say…

The FSF continues to campaign on behalf of away supporters and in the 2017/18 season we asked away fans to help record their experiences once more.

Have your say: Away Fans Survey 2018-19

Our Away Fans Survey is back again this season, entering its sixth year of recording the away fan experience across England and Wales.

WSL fans have their say on season resumption plans

Fans of five leading WSL sides have given their thoughts on the COVID-19 shutdown and their chances of returning to stadiums once the disruption caused by the pandemic has eased, and voiding the season has not proved a popular option. 

Supporter consultation on Wembley sale – have your say!

The FA Council is due to vote on the potential sale of Wembley later this month – and supporters are being asked to have their say on the controversial proposals.

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe