'Away Fans Matter' is an umbrella term for a number of FSF campaigns and activities around the away fan including the Away Fans Feedback Project, Twenty's Plenty for Away Tickets and Celebrating the Away Fan (see bullets).
But why the focus on away supporters?
In our experience away fans are most often at the ‘sharp end’ with regard to policing, stewarding, ticket prices, travel disruption and so on. There's a real sense that away numbers are falling and we believe it's something both the fans and football industry should be worried about.
Away fans are key to generating atmosphere inside grounds and multi-billion pound media deals rely on ‘the product’ which away fans play a big part in creating. Would viewers if North America or Asia fork out for those TV subscriptions if the stands were empty? We don't think so.
Away Fans’ Feedback Project:
- Aims: To gather meaningful data and enable the FSF to engage with clubs
- Soft launch in 2012/13 - around 2,000 fans completed the survey. To be pushed more extensively in 2013/14
- Methodology - working to produce statistically valid samples and data sets, using comparative data from season to seaon and club to club
- Extended to include Conference clubs in 2013/14
- Already providing results - Wigan, Arsenal and Swansea rated the best away experiences in the Premier League
Celebrating the Away Fan:
- Aims: To highlight the importance of the away fan via this new campaign angle during 2013/14
- Enlisting the help of current players, ex-pros and media ‘celebs’
- A section on the website for them to champion the cause and the impact of the away fan
Twenty's Plenty for Away Tickets:
- Aims: To persuade clubs to cap away tickets at a maximum of £20 (£15 concessions) and make away football more affordable
- Launched in January 2013 with meetings in Manchester and London, bringing supporters from across the country together to gather ideas
- Nearly 10,000 signatures on the petition; each time it is signed an email is sent to the Premier League/Football League and respective club
- Joined Spirit of Shankly’s demonstration at Premier League HQ on 19th June
Other streams of work which support the away fan:
- Meetings with the Premier League and Football League
- FSF Ground Guide (coming soon)
- Travel info (the FSF meets with the Rail Forum)
- Watching Football Is Not A Crime!
- FSF rep on the Fixture Working Party
- FSF work to encourage clubs to use their club charters
- FSF Transport Hub
Martin Endemann from Football Supporters Europe told us about the European experience and the excellent German campaign Kein Zwanni, read the English language version of the website here. Roughly translated Kein Zwanni - Fußball muss bezahlbar sei means No Twenty - Football must be affordable.
After two years of protesting and lobbying for social inclusive ticket prices and against additional "top game fees", Kein Zwanni celebrated their first success in the last couple of weeks. Three Bundesliga clubs have reviewed their ticket policy and, after negotiations with the Kein Zwanni campaign, announced that they'd cancel the top game fees for away fans and set a fixed price for all of their games. Two clubs even dropped the top game fees altogether (Hertha BSC and Hamburger SV). The campaign hope that this example of good pricing policy will lead to rethinking of prices at other Bundeliga clubs.
Ticket pricing will also play a big role during the annual FSE European Fans Congress taking place from the 19th-21st July in Amsterdam. In a special workshop fans will discuss strategies for joint actions/campaigns on ticket prices at an international level. Fans from ticketing campaigns in several countries will discuss how fans could work together and start transnational actions. For more information click here.
- For more information visit the FSF's Away Fans Matter pages. Over the course of 2013/14 we'll be adding resources and campaign ideas.