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Background

Members of Supporters Direct [SD] and the Football Supporters' Federation [FSF] voted to merge at their respective AGMs in July.

A possible merger of the organisations had been a discussion point for a number of years. A decision had become necessary because of important changes to how SD’s work can and cannot be funded once its current funding arrangements comes to an end in July 2019.

Both SD and the FSF receive the majority of their funding from the Premier League Fans Fund (PL Fans Fund), a fund which is wholly funded by the Premier League. For the 2016-19 funding cycle, the PL Fans Fund committed £983,000 to support SD’s work.

Towards the end of 2016, the PL Fans Fund panel asked SD to look at potential savings from operating a shared back office function with the FSF, Level Playing Field (LPF) and Kick It Out (KIO). The study found that each organisation was already run in a fairly lean fashion, and showed that sharing services but remaining independent offered few productivity benefits.

This outcome encouraged the Fans Fund panel to suggest that a move to a single national supporters’ organisation might benefit all. This is based on its stated belief that a single organisation could lead to:

  • Less duplication and better value for money
  • Greater efficiency, creating sustainability and longevity
  • A stronger collective voice
  • The continuation of both organisations’ missions, with skills, expertise and knowledge retained

The PL Fans Fund has also stated that funding for any new organisation will be commission-led, in that it will need to deliver outcomes that have been formally agreed with the PL Fans Fund Panel. The Panel must also be satisfied that funded work is operating with maximum efficiency, with a focus on avoiding
duplication. Attaining value for money will continue to be critical to the PL Fans Fund. This will be reflected in its consideration for core funding beyond the current agreements.

Work is now ongoing to create a new national football supporters' organisation which will be operational from January 2019. Further updates will be communicated in due course.

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