Nigel Clibbens with an update from the latest EFL club meeting
EFL Club meeting update … with Nigel Clibbens
On 16 February I attended the latest EFL all-club meeting at Walsall FC.
Each season the EFL has three scheduled meetings where its 72 member clubs get together with the EFL Board.
The EFL board consists of non-executive Chairman Ian Lenagan, Chief Executive Shaun Harvey, two independent non-executive directors (Debbie Jevans CBE and Richard Bowker CBE), plus six divisional directors elected by clubs - three directors from Championship (Brighton, Brentford and Norwich), two from League One (Scunthorpe and Walsall) and one from League Two (John Nixon, our Club’s Director of External Affairs).
The meetings are usually held in October, February and then June (the Summer Conference and Annual General Meeting) where rule and regulation changes are put to the vote.
The meetings have two parts. The first part is an open meeting with all 72 clubs in attendance and this is followed by separate meetings where the 24 teams of each division hold their own forum. All clubs must attend and it’s usually the owners and Chief Executives who represent their clubs.
At Walsall, the EFL Chairman explained how the EFL was working to support and bring about reform of the FA. He also outlined where the EFL is working with government on key areas like policing, ground safety, safe-standing, visas for overseas players, apprenticeships, alcohol licencing and community programmes.
Clearly football can’t operate on its own. It relies on cooperation with government and the wider community. Putting the shutters up to reform is short-sighted and not credible by those resistant to change, in my view. I don’t think the professional game will allow a gap to form with the law makers.
Shaun Harvey, the EFL Chief Executive, then went through a whole range of topics which are currently affecting the EFL, its clubs and supporters.
At the top of the agenda was safeguarding, which is a key issue for all clubs. Dealing properly with the problems of the past and making sure we provide a safe environment for all our players and staff is crucial for everyone in the game.
With the domestic TV contract bringing in two thirds of the EFL central income, broadcasting is always an important topic for clubs, especially as contracts come up for renewal. Fans follow their clubs in many ways, streaming highlights on the move and being able to watch games. Mobile devices open up so many new opportunities and alternatives to traditional live matches on TV. Clubs were told the EFL plan for selling its rights in the upcoming year. It announced that specialist advisors would help with that process.
This summer promises to be busy with most EFL clubs set to launch a new website alongside a new Player HD service. The view from the EFL is that it will be much improved. We will start to see what this looks look like in the next few months. Watch this space!
Other issues covered included commercial EFL deals and sponsorships, and possible rule changes on local promotions (where home clubs charge away fans more than home fans). Looking ahead to 2017/18, the fixture schedule was discussed along with the date for the full fixture release.
The EFL board then took questions from all member clubs about areas of specific concern.
In the League Two divisional meeting we discussed pitch condition and how to avoid overuse in multi-sport grounds to ensure they are up to standard as the season goes on.
Clubs agreed the process to review the Checkatrade Trophy. Last season changes were made to see if the Trophy could be revitalised and we went into the season open minded about it. With the benefit of seeing the changes in practice, it’s now important that we look at it again and a balanced view is taken about whether the changes worked, and what the competition will look like next season. A meeting of League One and League Two clubs on 11 April will consider it.
Before then, and working alongside CUOSC and the Carlisle United Supporters’ Group, we have asked our fans to complete a survey so that we can take a fully representative view with us to the meeting.
Club’s decided in principle to vote on reducing the Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP) limit from 55% to 50% for the 2018/19 season. This will further improve club viability.
League Two clubs also backed a move to have at least one Club Developed Player on the team sheet from next season. If one is not named, then it’s likely a club would only be allowed six substitutes. More details on this will come in the near future.
In other matters, Championship clubs voted to bring in goal line technology. They are funding it themselves as the cost is close to £100,000 per club, per season.
I will provide a similar review after the next meeting in April 2017.