In a response to widespread fan unrest following the failed Super League, Chelsea are the first club to move to give fans a greater voice within the club.
Two weeks ago, six Premier League sides including Liverpool sought to form a breakaway closed European Super League along with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus, a development many have long argued is inevitable.
It turned out to be far from that, with the vociferous backlash forcing the abandonment of their plans within 48 hours. That wasn’t the end, though, with fans in England in particular continuing to push back.
At Arsenal and Manchester United, there are ongoing protests against the owners. At United, those protests forced the postponement of their home match against Liverpool. At Anfield, there are talks scheduled between the club and supporters groups.
And today, at Chelsea, there is the first real sign one of the involved clubs will now bring supporters into the fold—or, if one were to be more cynical, perhaps simply seek to undermine calls for German-style 50+1 ownership rules in England.
Either way, starting July 1st, Chelsea have announced fan representatives elected by the club’s membership will be present at all board meetings in order the ensure the wishes of those supporters are given greater consideration.
“Chelsea Football Club announces that, as from 1 July, there will be supporter presence at the Club’s board meetings,” read a statement from London’s Blues announcing their move to give the club’s fans official representation within the club.
“Three supporter advisors, picked through an election and selection process, will attend board meetings to ensure general supporter sentiment is considered as part of the Club’s decision-making process.
“The Club will consult with the Fans’ Forum and several non-official supporter groups to discuss the Club’s proposed process for picking the three supporter advisors. A new selection will be made before the start of each season.”
The end result of Chelsea’s decision isn’t entirely certain, but in light of it and given the sentiment kicked up in recent weeks, it would seem difficult now for clubs like Liverpool to not at least match their efforts to include supporters.