Last week, the Livi For Life trust and the Raith Supporters Trust sent a joint letter to Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, regarding the rescheduling of the final set of fixtures in this season’s Championship campaign. Following this, we were pleased to speak to Mr Doncaster to discuss the issues raised in our letter.
The key concerns we raised included:
- Whether the impact of moving 5 fixtures in order to accommodate 1 fixture in the TV schedule was acceptable or appropriate
- What consideration was given to the financial impact on clubs of fixture changes, and what consultation takes place with clubs
- What consideration was given to the impact on the supporters’ matchday experience, and what consultation takes place with supporters
- What mechanisms are in place for clubs to challenge the rescheduling of their fixtures
Many of the issues we discussed are confidential in nature, relating to the commercial arrangements with various broadcasters. We can report, however, that Mr Doncaster acknowledged the difficulties that the rescheduling of fixtures raised for supporters, particularly those at key points in the football season; and that our concerns were listened to and understood by Mr Doncaster, and in many cases shared. Where we weren’t in total agreement, we were pleased that the constructive tone of the conversation allowed these concerns to be noted for consideration in future.
We will strive to ensure structured dialogue on issues such as these takes place, and would welcome any opportunities for supporter representation in discussions with broadcasters going forward.
We would like to express our gratitude to Andrew Jenkin of Supporters Direct Scotland for helping to arrange this conversation. SDS and the network of Trusts that it supports provide a forum for dialogue and engagement between supporters across Scotland, and with the football authorities, and we appreciate the opportunities that this creates.