IMUSA Committee Meeting 15.03.01. O'Briens Stretford.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.