A Catalyst For Change
It is clear from correspondence we are receiving, comments on social media and the organisation of protests that many of us fans are disillusioned and concerned about what is going on at our club. We are all looking for action that will address the decline we are witnessing, and it is clear change is needed. But how to do this effectively is a more difficult question. It becomes an individual decision how and what to get involved with.
At Blues Trust we believe that meaningful dialogue with the club, leading to change in how the club is run at the highest level together with transparent engagement with fans, is the best way the Trust can currently influence matters. We also feel that the recommendations in the recently published Fan Led Review of Football (FLR) will, if implemented, facilitate many of the changes needed at our club (and indeed many others).
All change needs a catalyst and it is our view that the main recommendation of the FLR, that of the independent regulation of football being imposed by government, will be that catalyst.
The administrative management team at Birmingham City have responded favourably to our requests to discuss the FLR and its implementation. We have held initial meetings and the club has indicated a willingness to take on board some of the recommendations being made before they are imposed by government legislation.
These significant changes in governance will take time to design and implement, and will need the support and approval of the BCFC Board and probably parent companies. Therefore this is going to need ongoing discussion over the next few months to move forward. Blues Trust is committed to this process and, with support from the Football Supporters Association (FSA), will work tirelessly and in good faith to make this the catalyst for positive change and reset the club’s engagement with its fans.
We acknowledge that past requests for dialogue by the Blues Trust have been blocked by the club. However, since the departure of the former CEO we have seen a more welcoming attitude to fan engagement. This is the first time that we have been able to pursue an agenda with the club through dialogue, and we are keen to make the most of the opportunity and follow it through to conclusions.
Blues Trust and the club have undertaken to keep fans up to date with progress. The club will be organising a series of meetings with key stakeholders to discuss current issues and the contents of FLR.
Blues Trust is pleased to take part in a debate being organised by Tilton Talk next Monday evening 24 January, and so will be available and happy to explain our approach and answer questions.
The FLR report can be seen here. It is the result of a number of years work behind the scenes, preparing evidence and lobbying government with the FSA, to bring about change and independent regulation to English football. It is anticipated that the shadow regulator will be set up in the next few months and if things go well (if government and cross party support is maintained) then the recommendations should progress into law around summer 2023.
Pursuing this approach does not mean that there is an acceptance on the part of the Trust that the owners are currently acting as well as they could do and in the long-term best interests of the club. Rather, the Trust believes that discussion and the decisions the owners take going forward could and should embrace the recommendations from the FLR.
Taking this to its logical conclusion, if the owners want to own Birmingham City for the long term then their identity and investment plans will become clear through the FLR changes. Equally true is if the owners wish to remain unrecognised then there will be growing pressure on them to sell the club prior to the government implementing the Independent Regulation of Football.
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