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Independent Football Ombudsman – annual report out now

How many football fans out there know what the Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) is and how the IFO can help? Not enough in our opinion. 

The IFO was established in 2008 to receive and adjudicate on complaints which have not been resolved by football clubs or the football authorities (the FA, Premier League and the EFL).

The FSA has developed greater relations with the IFO during the past 18 months and during that time we have been impressed with work they do to secure resolutions – back in May we interviewed Kevin Grix (chief ombudsman) to find out a little more about what the IFO does.

The IFO service is totally free and a huge benefit to supporters who we’d always encourage to use the IFO when needed – they will listen to your complaint and they will take it seriously.

An introduction from Kevin Grix (chief ombudsman)

The period since my appointment in January 2022 transpired to be one of the IFO’s busiest since it was established by the football authorities fifteen years ago. Our data illustrates that contacts from supporters increased and so too have case numbers compared with previous seasons.

Although at first glance a rise in cases might be considered as an indicator that standards are in decline – our experience is very different. It is almost inevitable that as the profile and awareness of the IFO continues to grow, so too will its case work. I am grateful not only to the football authorities and clubs for promoting the IFO to fans, but also to colleagues at Level Playing Field and the Football Supporters’ Association who have been generous with their support and signposting.

An increase in our case volumes can be positive because it can help to identify trends which require attention, and provides more scope for clubs to learn from mistakes and improve for the future. Where we have found in favour of a supporter and upheld their case, the overwhelming majority of clubs have accepted our decisions with grace and positivity. The same have gone on to take appropriate steps to implement our recommendations and put things right.

In spite of these improvements, I am mindful that we must continue to retain the high standards that we have set for ourselves and to which all of our stakeholders have become accustomed. I am certain that with our team of excellent staff, we are best placed to accept that challenge.

I hope that you enjoy reading our report.

Kevin Grix – chief ombudsman

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

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  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball