Attendees: Scott Munn, Nick Becker, Sally Freedman, Luke Wyman, David Harris, Melanie Price and Jacqui Hoban (FFA)
FRG Members: Natalie, Bridget, Haydn, Steve, Justin, Luke and Michael.
Apologies: Joey, Steve and Chris
Meeting began with a reintroduction of all FRG members and club staff, and a tour of the CFA for those who hadn’t seen the facilities. Jacqui Hoban, Head of events at the FFA, was in attendance.
Review of the FFA appeals process for banned fans
Scott highlighted that the safety of football fans is of utmost importance for Melbourne City FC. Regarding banned fans, he reiterated that the FFA must provide clear rules regarding such processes and that there be an opportunity for fans to appeal unfair rulings. Clear repercussions should be in place if the fan is found guilty.
Jacqui, on behalf of the FFA, was on board with the above and acknowledged that fans are pivotal to the success of the sport. FFA’s priority is to provide a safe and friendly environment for all fans, free of criminal activity and misbehaviour. The FFA has been consulting with a-league clubs, active supporter groups, venues and state police bodies to establish rules and clarify concerns. The active supporter groups of Melbourne Victory and the Western Sydney Wanderers declined to be part of such discussions. The FFA will continue to work with active supporter groups throughout the year.
Through aforementioned talks, the appeals process is currently outlined below although subject to change:
- Fans will not be automatically banned – they will receive an intention to ban notice
- The intention to ban notice will include all information regarding the appeals process
- Fans will have five to seven days to come forward to the FFA via their respective clubs to appeal the decision
- If there is sufficient evidence to prove the fan innocent then no ban notice will be received
- If there isn’t sufficient evidence the fan will then receive a ban notice
- This ban notice may then be appealed a second time through an independent body
- Evidence may include police reports, CCTV and witness reports
The FFA will only ban people who are putting fan safety at risk.
Another goal is to decrease police presence at games. Acknowledged their presence can be intimidating and it is costly to have them there. Police numbers are based on crowd behaviour of the clubs previous matches. Incidents must reduce in order for police numbers to decrease.
The FFA states that leaking of the documents containing the banned individuals was absolutely horrendous. FFA staff are briefed annually regarding this list and it is to remain confidential. The FFA have written to the police asking for a formal investigation to be conducted however have been told this is not a legal matter.
The latest member survey indicates that the new three and seven match flexi packs are a great membership option as not everyone can commit to every MCFC home game. At the time of the meeting, MCFC was sitting at 30 memberships short of 9000. MCFC had 11,279 members last season. All attendees were encouraged to push the member-get-member initiative where the winner this year receives a trip to New York. Members get priority access to finals tickets. Current members will be asked to renew their memberships in March. Next season there will be an option available to add extra children to family memberships. There will also be a greater emphasis on first time members – will look at initiatives to bolster their first experiences upon joining the club.
Sally asked the group if they attended the member function following the recent Sydney FC match. No was the general consensus. FRG members stated the function began too late, the venue is not the best and believed there would be a long wait for the players themselves to attend following the match. Confirmed by the club that non-playing players are at the venue immediately following the match and all other players are pushed to be there as quickly as possible. Upcoming member events are on Sunday 21st February following the Central Coast Mariners match and on Friday 8th April following the Adelaide match.
Member survey finding
The latest member survey also found that there was a lack of identity amongst the MCFC fans. This may be due to the fact that the club is still in a period of transition from the old Melbourne Heart and is yet to be settled. What does MCFC stand for? This question was brought to the group and the following was found to be synonymous with the club: family club; ambitious; driving; international; city football group; great football; connected to the fans; city family; #together. #together was incredibly well received by fans through the survey.
City square attendees have increased with each match especially when conducting player interviews. These will now become reoccurring. Member suggestions to entice more patrons to city square included good food, gaming (FIFA) and better promotions. City square kicks off two hours before games and two and half hours before the Melbourne derby.
City voice provides a platform for people to feel more connected to the club. Every message is responded to. It was brought up that some users didn’t receive a response for up to two weeks. Noted that some key stakeholders need to be engaged before the reply hence the delayed response. To combat this, may look at answering all responses on a weekly basis via meetings with all relevant stakeholders.
Citizens portal is gaining more traction through greater promotion and prizes. Barriers to increased use include low communication regarding member points, using points for auctions – should be able to buy experiences straight away – and difficulty logging in to the system.
Back to school communication coming soon from the merchandise team. Reports that fans were after an increased baby range where there are currently four options already available. Members have asked for w-league jerseys to be available for purchase. There will be an increased range of Nike supporter wear for next season.