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Scottish Fans Want SPL and SFL Merger

Tue 2nd Apr 2013 | Football Governance

The findings of the first-ever Scottish National Football Survey have revealed supporters consider greater financial distribution and a merger of the SPL and SFL to be the most important aspects of any reconstruction.

The findings published today, express the views of almost 7000 supporters on the major issues affecting the game in Scotland.

Commissioned by the Scottish FA, and issued in conjunction with the Scottish Premier League, Scottish Football League and Supporters Direct Scotland, the National Football Survey provides invaluable feedback on all aspects of the game and highlights key areas for improvement.

Split into two sections, the survey has captured responses on the four strategic pillars of the Scottish FA strategic plan – Perform and Win, Strong Quality Growth, Respected and Trusted to Lead, and Better Financial Returns – as well as a comprehensive section on club-specific fan experience.

Among the headline findings:

* The majority of supporters wish to see a larger top league, operated by a single league body, and with no more than three senior divisions.

* While the majority of fans consider the National Men’s A Squad to be seriously underachieving, the majority also consider the Women’s National Team and the National Youth Teams to be performing as expected or overachieving.

* Better Coaching, increased grassroots participation and better facilities are the three main factors in improving standards.

* There is no consensus on the optimal fixture calendar between the traditional season (August to May), March to November or an earlier start with an extended winter break.

* Majority of fans believe the new Judicial Panel system delivers more speedy disciplinary decisions.

Scottish FA Chief Executive ,Stewart Regan, said, “We believe the National Football Survey will be an essential tool year-on-year to gauge the mood of Scottish football’s fans and measure the progress of our own targets within the strategic plan Scotland United: A 2020 Vision. Naturally, league reconstruction is the hot topic among the supporters at the moment and while the numbers remain subjective, the overwhelming majority of fans believe a single league body, fairer financial distribution and pyramid are essential in any reconstruction process.

“While ultimately it is a matter for the league bodies to decide on, the feedback from supporters is in line with the Scottish FA’s view and I am sure the results of the report will be taken on board by the respective bodies.

“The survey has also shown that the success of the national Men’s A Squad is inextricably linked to the perceived success or otherwise of the Scottish FA as the governing body. This has been a traditional perception that we have worked hard to dispel and we will continue to promote the other areas that come under our jurisdiction: Scottish Cup, Performance strategy, grassroots development, referee development, compliance and club licensing to name just a few of our focus areas.

“What I found particularly interesting within the report is the fans’ preferred communications methods. The Scottish FA has already established a positive relationship with Supporters Direct Scotland – indeed, they have been heavily involved in the survey – and we will continue to cultivate that relationship.

“We have also recently held a QnA with our national coach and members of the Scotland Supporters Club and we believe that type of forum, with direct input from fans, should be taken on the road via our six established regions to discuss and debate all issues affecting the game.

“It is also reassuring to note that the majority of supporters are seeing the benefit of the new Judicial Panel, which has improved the efficiency of disciplinary process significantly with the help of our compliance officer, Vincent Lunny, and our cab rank of more than 100 panel members.

“In general, the National Football Survey has provided us in the first year with some excellent baseline data from which the Scottish FA, the league bodies and Supporters Direct Scotland can shape future objectives and measure the success of our existing and ongoing strategic goals. I would like to thank all who participated in what will become an annual survey.”

Neil Doncaster, Scottish Premier League Chief Executive, added, “The response to the National Football Survey has been excellent. The fact that more than three quarters of those responding considered football as an important part of their families’ lives is an incredibly powerful sentiment, and supporters have once again proved that they care deeply about their club and indeed the wider game in Scotland.

“Encouragingly, the results show that match day in the SPL is now considered a very family friendly experience, and this is credit to the hard work being carried out at each club under the Family Champions programme. We recognise that, among other barriers to attending, supporters would like safe-standing areas to be introduced. A change to the SPL rules now allows for safe-standing pilot schemes. We will continue to strive to improve the SPL match day experience.”

Click Here to view the full report


Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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