Liverpool FC announce formation of ground-breaking Supporters Board as FSG seek more fan engagement

Liverpool FC have signed a contract to establish the formation of a brand new Supporters Board that will aim to deliver meaningful fan representation at boardroom level at Anfield.

The agreement is being viewed as a ground-breaking one that will seek to place some power back into the hands of supporters and give them a voice over key strategic decisions within the club itself.

The formation of the Supporters Board comes some 16 months after the idea was first established following the collapse of the controversial European Super League, which was driven in England largely by Reds owners Fenway Sports Group and the Glazer family at Manchester United.

The legally-binding commitment is the culmination of behind-the-scenes talks between supporters’ unions and leadership figures within Liverpool – and the Board will allow fans to consult with the club directly over issues such as ticketing and beyond.

The 16-person group have been put together in an effort to ensure every key demographic of Liverpool supporters is represented with Spirit of Shankly member Joe Blott being nominated as the LFC Supporters Board chair. The representatives are 10 elected members of the Spirit of Shankly and six elected members from other fan organisations or experts in their field. Representatives will be in place for two-year terms.

The inaugural meeting has already been held and Liverpool chiefs are committed to working closely with the representatives on the Board to ensure any issues further down the line are ironed out to avoid a potential public backlash.

“This is an important day in the club’s history and is of huge strategic importance,” says Liverpool’s managing director Andy Hughes. “We are proud of the work that has gone in to make this happen and we thank Spirit of Shankly and Joe Blott for their support in working with us to reach today’s milestone.

“In our first meeting we were able to outline our objectives and purpose and meet each representative. It’s important to us that we have engagement with our fans and that they can input into important strategic matters, having the Supporters Board means we put a process in place that is more formal but in a meaningful way.”

It’s understood the Board will meet four times a year in an informal capacity with local-based executives at Anfield, while owners Fenway Sports Group have committed to an annual meeting with the Supporters Board. The ECHO understands FSG have been enthusiastic about the formation of the Board with it being viewed as the best way to engage with the supporter-base of a club that has fans in every corner of the globe.

 

“We are moving into a new era of engagement with our club and I am really looking forward to working even more closely alongside partners and affiliates. This is historical, ground-breaking work, a step into the unknown but one I truly believe will be a benefit to our current fans but more importantly, a legacy for future generations. No other set of Premier League fans, possibly no other football fans, have the opportunity we now have, we need to seize the moment. Our Board of 16 volunteers is fantastic, with a huge array of skills, knowledge, and experience, all determined to work with LFC to improve supporter engagement. This opportunity should be one of optimism for the Supporters Board and LFC supporters in general, and we need to capitalise on the new model.”

Joe Blott, newly-appointed chair of the LFC Supporters Board
The advent of the Supporters Board comes after a number of missteps by the club’s ownership group in recent years. At the start of the pandemic, FSG were forced into a U-turn over their decision to use the UK Government’s furlough scheme to help pay the wages of some of their lowest-paid members of staff, before their part of the Super League debacle in April of last year was widely condemned prior to a public apology from principal owner John W Henry.

The long-term aim of the Supporters Board is to avoid such PR disasters going forward while conversations around ticketing, matchday experience, and equality, diversity, and inclusion will also form part of their remit.

Original article published 17.08.2022 on the Liverpool Echo website.

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