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IMUSA Committee Meeting 15.03.01. O'Briens Stretford.


Fans Forum
Safe Standing
Ground closure threat


Further to previously aired concerns relating to the treatment of supporters in Athens, it was pleasing to note that the trip had passed off without incident. The behaviour of supporters and the representations to the authorities made by IMUSA in advance of the trip, were praised.

Fans Forum.

In the absence of DK, John Wroe, an independent representative to the forum, gave an overview of the meeting held on 25.02.01. IMUSA's atmosphere document, had been submitted and was received positively. The club had hinted at the possibility of an unreserved seating experiment for next season. Trafford Borough Council had been present and had aired concerns over prolonged standing at Old Trafford. A more detailed overview of the meeting appears on the IMUSA website.

Safe Standing.

ML reported back to the cttee, with regards to the visit to Germany. It was stated that the trip was extremely positive. A detailed report along with photographs of the standing areas appears on the IMUSA website, however ML cited the policy of the clubs towards supporters. That a sense of social responsibility exists, prices are kept low, youngsters are encouraged, a sense of community is built. Executive prices subsidise other tickets in that often 50 percent of income is derived from corporate customers.

The FLA had also visited Germany and had submitted a report to Chris Smith. Despite conclusions in favour of an experiment, Chris Smith continues to speak out against such a move.

Phil French from the PL had contacted ML, with a view to arranging a meeting to discuss the issue.

Ground Closure.

The recent threat by Trafford Borough Council (TBC) to close sections of Old Trafford as a result of perceived safety risks of prolonged standing, took up a large slice of the evenings discussion. AW gave an insight into how the situation had developed. IMUSA had received a phone call on the Wednesday prior to the press conference held at Old Trafford. Whilst not being in a position to halt the press conference or indeed the threat, IMUSA spent the following few days, trying to obtain for concessions from the club, such as unreserved seating. In any media contact IMUSA held, the issue was used to draw attention to the merits of SafeStanding and pushed hard for the club to come out in support of it or agree to a feasibility study. IMUSA then held a meeting with TBC, during which they re-iterated the concerns their legal dept had over prolonged standing at O.T. but would publicly support any feasibility study into SS, if the law was changed.

Discussion then turned to the events of the previous nights match, during which the majority of supporters complied, with TBC's and the clubs wishes. A number of supporters had been forcibly removed from J stand by Special Projects Security (SPS) and clarification was sought as to what had happened. SB stated that the actions of the SPS was grossly inappropriate to any perceived offence (standing) and that their actions actually escalated the problem.

MA argued that the club needed to distance themselves from SPS's behaviour and that instead of stewarding they were in fact a catalyst for trouble.

AW opined that SPS had lost any respect they may have held with fans and proposed that a letter be drafted to the club, requesting clarification on what role SPS hold, what their remit is and what redress procedures are in place. That letter should be copied to TBC. It was also proposed that a separate letter be sent, requesting CCTV footage, in order to aid those supporters ejected. Both proposals were agreed upon.

It was also proposed and agreed that the clubs involved in the FA Cup semi finals be contacted, with a view to doing a leaflet campaign at both semi-finals to promote SafeStanding.



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