Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST) is to launch a petition describing the EFL as “unfit for purpose” in a bid to force action.
BST, the club’s largest supporters’ group, has been lobbying the EFL to take action against rogue owners of football clubs.
Speaking to TalkSport, BST chairman Christine Seddon called for EFL chairman Ian Lenagan and chief executive Shaun Harvey to step down unless they implement reforms to protect clubs from financial mismanagement.
Blackpool aren’t the only club to experience issues with their owners. Leyton Orient, Charlton Athletic, Coventry City and Blackburn Rovers have all experienced difficulties between fans and those in charge of their clubs.
BST’s frustration has now reached boiling point following an email exchange seen by The Gazette.
On December 23, 2017 Ms Seddon wrote the following to Ian Lenagan: “The measures put in place so far have been woefully inadequate and the general feeling amongst fans is that the EFL simply do not ‘get it’.
“If current rules do not allow the EFL to take robust, effective action against rogue owners then it is time to get some new rules.
“We require you, the football authorities, to act resolutely and speedily for the good of all in the game, to bring the changes regarding responsible custodianship which our game so urgently needs.
“If the EFL won’t act, then we give you notice that we, the fans, most certainly will.”
The EFL’s position is that it is a simply a competition which can only operate within the bounds of rules provided by the clubs within it.
BST insist that this amounts to the clubs regulating themselves – a scenario that fails supporters when a rogue owner is in place.
Ms Seddon received a reply on January 26, 2018, not from Mr Lenagan but from a member of the EFL’s Supporter Services Department.
It read: “We do understand your views regarding this and, at the recent EFL structured dialogue meeting, it prompted a discussion about various matters relating to Club ownership during which we updated the group on EFL’s strategic review of the conduct of owners, directors and executives which EFL instigated at the start of the 2017-2018 season.
“We clarified that EFL are currently mid-way through the consultation with clubs.
“At this stage, it is obviously too early to speculate on what the outcome of the review will be but we expect it is something we can discuss at the next meeting in Spring, and any formal proposals would be dealt with at the AGM in June 2018.
“We recognise your willingness for this process to be expedited and took note of a number of comments and suggestions made at the meeting with regard to the review.
“We committed to feed those into the clubs’ and EFL’s decision-making discussions for
In an email sent on February 2, Ms Seddon responds: “Vague assurances about feeding our ideas into an opaque process that will not deliver conclusions until the summer really is not good enough.”
Addressing her reply to Mr Lenagan personally, she explains that the EFL’s stance “is not likely, in our view, to deliver any challenging conclusions that allow you to improve the manner in which the English game works.”
An EFL Spokesman told The Gazette: “The EFL notes the comments and actions taken today by the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust.
“We have, on a number of separate occasions in the recent past, engaged with different individuals who are Trust members on the matters raised and others.
“Following the receipt of a further communication in the past 24 hours, we will review and revert as is our commitment to all supporters and supporter groups.”
BST has since launched a petition entitled ‘English Football League (EFL) Must Tackle Failing Clubs’.
It reads: “We believe that in the governance of its member clubs, the English Football League is unfit for purpose.
“We urge it to adopt the case review model designed by the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust as a method for addressing failure.”
The petition is due to be launched in due course.