BST SUMMARY RESPONSE
After reading The Club Statement and The FA’s findings in full (available on The FA website) we thought we should comment:
· We implore fans to act in a responsible way and condemn any form of discriminatory behaviour, chanting or throwing of objects onto the pitch
· We actively want to promote the FSA's message as well, asking for ‘Passion without Poison’ from fans
· We are disappointed the FA are only holding one side accountable and will be writing to them with our thoughts, even if they ignore these.
· As a fan base, everyone must understand if this doesn’t stop immediately the club is highly likely to face severe sanctions, such as increased fines, closure of stands, points deductions etc. The consequences of these potential sanctions to the future success of BFC are obvious.
BST FULL RESPONSE
We are publishing these details following the imposition of a further £35,000 fine upon the club, following incidents at our game with Wigan Athletic in April. Our thoughts reflect the Football Association’s (FA’s) written reasons for the decision and also the club’s statement in response.
First and foremost, there are things that the club need to reflect and act upon, and we commend them for choosing to accept the charges and the punishment that has been imposed.
Our view is that the severity of the fine must in part reflect that this is not the first time that the club has been in trouble, and we must expect that the way that it now responds will be closely scrutinised by the F.A.
BST are in no doubt that our recent history is not helping us here. If instances of bad behaviour continue, they will not only cause further damage to the owner’s bank balance. They will also do lasting harm to our reputation.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
The club finds itself in a very, very difficult position here. The standard that the FA expects its clubs to meet is an extremely high one. It is almost impossible to meet unless the club has the active cooperation of its supporters.
The action plan that the club has had imposed by The FA is therefore going to be important, and at BST we will offer the club whatever practical support we can.
We have extensive networks in the game and can secure expert help and advice from the Football Supporters Association (FSA) as well as others.
To that extent, what happens next has to be largely driven by what WE as supporters do and specifically:
· Throwing flares and other objects is just not acceptable
· Sectarian, racist or homophobic abuse is wrong, and we shouldn’t be doing any of it
· Provocation is no excuse. We don’t have to respond to it, and the smart thing to do is to rise above it.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE BEHAVIOUR CONTINUES?
We are highly likely to incur further, bigger fines, see sections of the ground (if not all) closed, or have points deducted.
We cannot say that we have not been warned. It really is up to us to help our club by calling out these actions and reporting it where we see it.
Finally, we think it is curious that the FA’s response has had very little to say about the behaviour of the player in question.
He seems to understand exactly how the system works, and given the controversy and ill-will that follows him around, this is perhaps not surprising. But we are surprised that there is no consideration in the report of what can be done about players who play some role in provoking and then escalating issues, or of the responsibilities of clubs who choose to employ them.
Incitement by a player in these situations can put innocent fans and others in the direct line of fire, and should be treated by the footballing authorities as such, and dealt with in a similar way to how we have.
BST Committee, 22 July 2023
for Blackpool Fans, Our Club and Our Community.