Westminster Hall debate on football governance

A delegation from the Fulham Supporters' Trust attended a debate on football governance at Westminster Hall yesterday afternoon.

More than 20 MPs attended the debate, which was on the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee's report on football governance, and gave their view on the current state of British football.

Former Trust chair Tom Greatrex, now the Labour MP for Hamilton & Rutherglen West, spoke about the importance of ensuring that football clubs are no longer seperated from the grounds at which they play and how governance reform could offer fans a greater say in the running of their clubs. You can watch read Tom's speech here or watch the debate here.

Responding for the Government, the Sports Minister Hugh Robertson praised the Select Committee's report and said:

We do not want to be having these debates in a couple of years' time. It is important for the footballing world to realise that this is an opportunity for the football authorities - the FA, the Premier League and the Football League - to come together, to work together, and then to present the Government and Parliament with a solution. I very much hope that they will respond positively by the end of the month.

You can download information about Supporters Direct's proposals for a club licensing system here.



A delegation from the Fulham Supporters' Trust went to Westminster this week as Supporters Direct unveiled their proposals for football club licensing at the House of Commons.

Supporters Direct's plans are in response to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's report on football governance and aim to end the era of unsustainable debt, leveraged buyouts and reckless financial gambles in English football. There is cross-party support for the introduction of a licensing system, similar to that operating in Germany, as the event was hosted by Jessica Lee, the Conservative MP for Erewash, and the meeting also heard from the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes.

The founding chair of the Fulham Supporters' Trust, Tom Greatrex, now Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, said the licensing idea crossed political boundaries, saying: "Nobody seriously doubts the ability of (fans) to contribute in a constructive way. It's right to recognise the role of fans in the new licensing arrangements as guarantors of the best interests of clubs and their communities."

William Gaillard, an advisor to UEFA President Michel Platini, also offered his support, describing the Bundesliga model and outlining some of the ways in which European football's governing body have moved towards licensing, such as introducing Financial Fair Play.

Whilst in Westminster, the Trust also took the opportunity to meet with Fulham season-ticket holders Andy Slaughter and Steve Pound (Labour MPs for Hammersmith and Ealing North, respectively).

The licensing proposals may be read here and the Trust will keep members informed of progress with the proposals.


Craven Cottage planning application


On 12th January, 2012, Fulham submitted a planning application to increase Craven Cottage's capacity to 30,000 from 25,700. Fulham plan to develop the Riverside Stand in order to increase capacity up to 30,000, as well as undertaking wider facility improvements at the venue.
Following exhibits at Craven Cottage and a consultative exercise with fans and residents, the club made the formal submission of a planning application to Hammersmith and Fulham Council for permission to redevelop the Riverside Stand.
In a statement on the club's official website, the club said: "Fulham Football Club today submitted an application to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, for the redevelopment of the Riverside stand at its Craven Cottage home.
"The application will take the club's current capacity to 30,000 seats and, further significant funds will be invested to open up the Thames River walk from Hammersmith to Putney for the first time in recent history."
Fulham will hold exhibitions on January 25th. and 28th. to showcase the final design submitted and provide feedback from the second consultation. As soon as the plans are put on show at the Hammersmith Town Hall, the Trust will view them and report back.



FFC: more on redevelopment proposals at Craven Cottage 

In the early part of December, Fulham Football Club held another series of consultation events regarding their proposals to redevelop Craven Cottage. Club officials and members of the planning consultancy involved with the designs were present as the club unveiled some detailed designs of the proposed changes to the Riverside Stand, which will predominantly introduce additional seating and offer extra opportunities for non-matchday use of the new facilities. One of the salient features was the desire to re-open the Thames Path to its fullest extent. It remains Fulham's intention to submit a planning application this spring, with the expectation that work will be undertaken during the close season.


Re-developing Craven Cottage: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Since last month, there has been some progress with Fulham Football Club’s plans to redevelop Craven Cottage. According to a statement published on the Club's website on November 16th., Fulham submitted an EIA to Hammersmith & Fulham Council regarding their proposals. It is important to note that this is not a planning application, but a minor part of the planning process designed to assess the impact of any future proposal.

The environmental impact assessment included a description of the project, in this case a discussion of the measures that would need to be taken to redevelop the Riverside Stand, any alternative approaches that were considered, a description of the current environment, consideration of any impact on the environment and its possible off-setting, a section advising on any weakness in knowledge and a summary of the proposals.

To this end, the Club included some drawings and technical sketches outlining the current environment behind the Riverside Stand and along the Thames. The sketches showing the height of a redeveloped Riverside Stand were not indicative of its final appearance, but merely provided an understanding of the environmental impact. Detailed proposals will emerge in due course as the planning application takes shape. Fulham have indicated that they will hold consultations with their supporters and the local community in December and they hope to submit a planning application next year. The proposals involve the redevelopment and expansion of the current Riverside Stand to increase the overall capacity of the Craven Cottage football ground by approximately 4,000 seats. The scheme also includes new food and drink and service facilities for supporters and corporate hospitality space and up to six residential apartments.

In order to reduce any encroachment into the River Thames, the plan also highlighted the proposed over-hang of the two-tier stand over the river with the creation of a new riverside walkway. To assist in the delivery of materials required to construct the new stand, an area has been identified for the creation of a temporary jetty, required for the duration of the construction works only and to facilitate deliveries by water.