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CHIEF EXEC: It's a service that must work

Nigel Clibbens on the weekend iFollow issues

16 November 2020

Saturday afternoon brought the first game this season for the Blues where over one thousand fans subscribed to use the iFollow live streaming service – and unfortunately it also brought a technical glitch which meant that those fans missed out on the first 14 minutes of the game.

With the service providing a vital revenue stream through these difficult times this is obviously not ideal, because we want you to feel confident that you can watch the Blues uninterrupted, on demand, as you expect.

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens has provided us with an update today.

“I have explained before in fan updates the importance of the iFollow service being reliable, and the need for trust that it works,” he said. “It is a vital service as it is the only way fans can see the team in ‘live’ action at present, and it provides the club with much-needed income. 

“So far the system had been reliable, even though some individuals have had individual, specific issues. We were told on Thursday at the EFL League Two meeting that problems affected 1% of users, and more resources would be directed to reduce that further.”

“On Saturday things went wrong for some fans,” he added. “We are sorry for the upset and uncertainty this has caused.

“Whether or not what went wrong is within the club's control, it is our fans who are affected and it is us here at Carlisle United who are selling the service and promoting it to our fans.

“And it is our fans who are paying for the privilege. Therefore the service must work and we have to take our share of the responsibility when it doesn’t, and ensure issues are dealt with.

“In the run-up to kick off on Saturday fans started to report iFollow problems as they began logging on to watch the game. We were informed there was a system IT issue affecting some subscribers and a number of clubs. It didn’t affect all fans and wasn’t specific to Carlisle United, but fixing it was beyond our control.

“We alerted fans immediately at 14:36 across social media. Our media team were in constant contact with the iFollow technical team, who were working to identify and rectify the problem.”

“EFL Digital has now confirmed there was an issue which, it is believed, affected approximately 12 minutes at the start of the match before some fans were subsequently able to watch,” he explained. “They are investigating further and awaiting answers from their suppliers to understand the technical reason as to what went wrong, and why.”

We have been informed that those fans affected will be compensated financially by EFL Digital in the following manner:

+ Any fan that purchased a match pass and was unable to watch any part of the match will be fully refunded.

+ Any fan that purchased the match, missed the first 10 minutes of action, but was able to watch the rest of the game, will be refunded 50% of their match pass fee.

+ Any Season ticket holder that was trying to view via a code, or through the email matching process, will receive a code for a future away match.

EFL Digital will communicate and deal with compensation directly with those fans affected via email.

“We understand how frustrating these issues are, and we apologise,” the chief exec said. “We hope that the above offer goes some way to repair some of the damage caused, and will help to restore the trust in the iFollow service, and its reputation which, until Saturday, was good.

“This is borne out by the high number of Carlisle supporters who have been following their club in this way. Once again we are sorry.”


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