INTERVIEW: iFollow to be discussed at AGM

Representatives of the 72 member clubs of the EFL head out to Portugal this week [5 to 7 June] to discuss a range of issues ahead of this month’s release of next season’s fixtures, a day which is always regarded as the first real step towards the kick off of the new campaign.

“In Portugal we expect to get final details on the Checkatrade Trophy,” chief executive Nigel Clibbens said. “We’ve had some indicative stuff about it and that’s shown that it isn’t really going to change next season.

“One of the other things to be discussed is iFollow, and that particular subject could also be linked to a discussion on distributions in general.”

“The games that are allowed to be shown on iFollow will be agreed,” he told us. “It was a one-year trial last season and there were a number of things within that trial that were one-offs, simply to allow the trial to happen.

“Our position on iFollow is that we think the Saturday 3pm kick off timings are sacrosanct. We don’t think Bank Holiday fixtures should be streamed either, as we feel that will be financially detrimental.

“Christmas and Easter fixtures are part of football culture, so we won’t support that. We do support the streaming of midweek fixtures on the basis that people work, which means they can’t then go to games.

“I think there are more people who can’t attend who would then be able to watch, than there would be people who decide not to go just because it’s on iFollow.”

“The only thing we have a strong view on is that we don’t think the home club should get the final decision on whether rearranged midweek games are streamed or not,” he commented. “If the away team wants it, but the home team doesn’t, then that's how it can lead to conflict. 

“There should be a straight rule which dictates that rearranged fixtures are either streamed, or they aren't. That way everybody would know where they stand." 

Also up for discussion this week are a number of rule changes, plus a debate on the distribution of money. 

"This topic was debated last year but held back due to the Sky TV deal," the chief exec said. "The growing disparity between the haves and the have nots is a big issue for everybody, so I'm sure that will throw up some interesting opinions and comments."

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