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Supporter engagement

Premier League and EFL clubs are mandated by their respective leagues to meet with fans twice per season, at a minimum, and no issue should be “off-the-table”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) guidelines are in place and the leagues have incorporated versions of these into their rulebooks. 

Last year we surveyed fan groups to find out how their clubs were implementing supporter engagement and to asses the picture was across-the-board – afterwards, feeding that information back to the sports minister. Seventy three clubs were covered in the results. 

Here’s what supporter groups told us:

  • 84% of clubs are meeting with supporters at least twice per season. This matches previous survey’s results which reported 85%.
  • 94% of clubs are fielding appropriate people – either owners, directors and/or senior executives. This is up 8% from the previous year.
  • 39% of respondents said their club either misunderstands or doesn’t act upon the guidelines, although this is an improvement as almost half (48%) of fan representatives said the same last year.
  • 86% didn’t believe, or were unsure, that clubs would be sanctioned by a league for not conforming to regulations.

The research showed that, generally, things are in a healthy state with regards to clubs following the guidelines, but there are a handful of clubs where this isn’t the case.

“There’s definitely room for improvement and we’ll support fans at clubs where the guidelines aren’t being met.” Deborah Dilworth, FSA Network Manager (EFL)

The research also showed that fans want a clear distinction between promotional or social fans forum-style events and engagement meetings – where 52% of fans wanted to hear from CEOs on more difficult topics such as ownership and financial data.

We will continue to raise cases where engagement guidelines aren’t being met with DCMS, the EFL, and Premier League. If your supporters’ group is having difficulty in this area or would like further information and advice, please get in touch.


Email Deborah Dilworth (FSA Network Manager EFL) or call 0330 44 000 44.

Further information:

Latest news: Supporter engagement

A little understanding goes a long way

At the FSA we’re keen to promote the best practice when it comes to clubs talking to their supporters, as the benefits of engaging with fans are obvious – at least to us. One tool that’s become increasingly common in formalising those discussions is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

West Ham end controversial blockchain partnership

West Ham United have ended their deal with – a digital platform that uses blockchain to provide paid-for supporter engagement.

Hull City ban journalists for “negative coverage”

While Hull City’s fans might have expected the club leadership’s entire focus to be on the battle for Championship survival they have instead turned their attention to the media – banning local journalists and hitting out at The Athletic for “misleading gossip”.

Fan reps meet EFL executives – Winter 2019

Fan representatives from the EFL’s three divisions met with senior league officials in London on Tuesday 3rd December 2019.

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