The cost of attending football is increasing at all levels, and not just in the Premier League. Many League Two fans are already finding themselves getting very little change from a twenty pound note, if any at all, when paying for their tickets, and it is expected that thousands of fans from all leagues will sign the petition.
With gate receipts becoming less important compared with TV revenue as a percentage of a club’s income, the Football Supporters’ Federation is concerned that fans are finding it increasingly easy to stay at home and watch games on the internet or watch them at the pub for free. Football needs to act now to make sure it doesn’t lose the next generation of match-going fans.
Watching Football Is Not A Crime!
WFINAC! was launched as a direct reaction to instances of police officers using Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 as a way of stopping football supporters, usually in pubs, from attending matches. The most high-profile case involved Stoke City fans and the FSF was instrumental winning them compensation totaling approximately £200,000.
Since its launch WFINAC! has grown to encompass more than just Section 27 issues. It’s become something of a rallying cry for supporters who feel they’ve been poorly treated and, often, the FSF has been able to step in and help.
If you feel you’ve been unfairly treated by police or stewards contact the FSF’s Amanda Jacks on 07703 519555 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Policing at football matches is all too often heavy handed and unnecessary, so this campaign is a welcome addition to the footballing landscape. Arrest, expulsion from the ground, bans and behaviour contracts have all been tools of the authorities’ trade to clamp down on vociferous support. We pay a lot for our football and deserve far more respect.
The FSF represents more than 200,000 individual and affiliate members throughout England and Wales. As an organisation we do our best to fairly reflect fans’ opinion and the issue of standing at football (or rather the lack of it, in the top two divisions particularly) comes up more than any other.
Why does the FSF back safe standing?
Popular support – nine out of ten supporters back the choice to sit or stand (FSF National Survey 2012). Every week thousands stand in seated areas supporting the team they love – they deserve proper safe standing areas.
Choice – everyone benefits as those who wish to stand can do while those who prefer to sit no longer have to worry about having their view blocked. Clubs should also have the choice to introduce safe standing areas if they see fit.
Safety – safe standing can be introduced within stringent safety standards laid down in the Government’s Green Guide. The Government does not claim that standing at football is inherently unsafe.
Flexibility – UEFA regs mean European competitions must be played in all-seater stadiums. Safe standing areas can be easily converted to and from seating so a club competing in Europe can go all-seater with minimum fuss.
Pricing – in both England and abroad ticket prices for standing areas are typically lower than in seated areas making the stadiums more socially inclusive.
It is our belief that Safe Standing is, frankly, a bit of a no brainer. Those of us who’ve supported the club in L1, SK1 or away from home will know that there is a huge amount of desire on the part of LCFC fans to at least have the choice to sit or stand. The special atmospheres we loved at Filbert Street came about due to standing, there must have been seats in the Kop that were never actually used for anything other than standing on! We associate singing with standing, this has been proved time and time again. We welcomed the visit of the Safe Standing Roadshow to Leicester in August 2012 before the opening game of the season against Peterborough United and would appreciate a return, this time with an official from the club getting to see the simple but effective system in action. We will continue to implore the club to come out and support the notion.
Unless we as fans are prepared to stand up and be counted, the game we love could genuinely be lost to all but the wealthy.
This is why we support the FSF and their campaigns to improve the lot of football fans everywhere; whether they support Leicester or Lincoln, Manchester United or Millwall.
The Football Supporters’ Federation is a fine organisation, free to join with passionate caseworkers. We advise every football fan reading this, Leicester or otherwise, to join immediately if they haven’t done so already. Their main campaigns are as listed below.
The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF)
We believe in fans being able to express their love for their team without being criminalised, hounded out of their stadium or ripped off for the privilege. Football is and always has been an inclusive sport, this is how it should remain.
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