EFL to hold meeting with Blackpool fans

Shaun Harvey
Shaun Harvey

The English Football League is to host a meeting with concerned supporters this month to discuss the ongoing situation at Blackpool Football Club.

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The English Football League is to host a meeting with concerned supporters this month to discuss the ongoing situation at Blackpool Football Club.

The EFL, governing body of the 72 professional Football League clubs, has faced criticism from Blackpool supporters who are frustrated at what they consider a lack of action.

Meeting with The Gazette yesterday, EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey acknowledged that communication has been an issue and said that convening a meeting was the right way to be open and honest.

Harvey said: “There are clearly a number of issues to be discussed in relation to the club’s difficult and complex situation, and we will endeavour to provide answers to the questions raised where we can.

“The EFL will continue to act in good faith towards supporters of the club, and while this may not currently be the view shared across all sections of Blackpool’s fanbase, we will be happy to meet with the various parties to discuss their concerns.”

Invitations will be extended to representatives from the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST), Tangerine Knights, A View From The Tower message board, Back Henry Street message board, local MPs and The Gazette.

An EFL spokesman said: “Access to the meeting will be restricted to those invited groups and spaces will be limited. At the meeting, attendees will be given the opportunity to raise their concerns and EFL officials will endeavour to provide answers wherever possible and explain its position on a number of matters that have previously been raised in the public domain.“The

club has been informed of the intention to host this meeting and the EFL reserves the right to withdraw the offer to meet supporter groups if there are any further incidents of unwarranted abuse directed at EFL members of staff, either online or in person.”

The date and venue for the meeting are still to be confirmed.

The Gazette raised several issues at yesterday’s meeting, ranging from Valeri Belokon’s suspension to football governance, the EFL’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test and November’s High Court judgement. The response was that these issues would be discussed at the meeting.

The announcement follows strong criticism of the EFL by fans, who are planning to protest outside EFL headquarters in Preston tomorrow.

A petition urging the government to make changes to the way football is run has also been launched.

BST, who published the petition last week,wants the government to introduce an independent regulator for English football to ensure the “highest possible standards of governance”.

If the petition gains 10,000 signatures the government will have to respond and 100,000 signatures will trigger a parliamentary debate on the issue. To date, the petition has gained over 5,000 signatures.