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Everton launch major fan representation initiative

The Toffees are committing to a Fan Advisory Board and supporters at Board meetings going forward

Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The protestations of Everton supporters regarding how their club is being run seems to have made an effect on the club’s leadership. Over the years there have been lots of questions asked about how decisions made regarding the club’s future have been made as the Board have not necessarily adopted an open attitude towards supporters getting involved in the club’s direction.

In a statement released by the club earlier today, the announcement was made that a Fan Advisory Board will be formed this season following conversations between the club leadership and the Everton Stakeholder Steering Group (ESSG).

Everton Football Club and the Everton Stakeholder Steering Group (ESSG) have confirmed their commitment to launch a Fan Advisory Board by the end of the 2021/22 season.

Club officials met with representatives from the ESSG, a coalition of independent supporters’ groups which represents more than 3,000 Evertonians, to push forward plans for how fans’ voices can be represented at the highest levels of Everton.

Under proposals from the ESSG the Fan Advisory Board will become a channel for in-depth consultation with the Club’s hierarchy, including Board members, with a focus on long-term strategic matters at the football club. At the latest meeting both parties confirmed their desire to launch the Fan Advisory Board before the end of the current season with the steering group now working on delivering a plan for how that will be achieved. Once operational, the Fan Advisory Board will shape the structure of fan representation at Board meetings, in conjunction with the Club.

The ESSG is an independent steering group made up of representatives from various Everton fan and stakeholder associations, including Everton Disabled Supporters’ Association, Everton Fans’ Forum, EFC Shareholders’ Association, EFC Supporters’ Club Committee, Everton Heritage Society, international fan groups from Asia-pacific, North America, and European regions as well as Football Supporters Association members.

Representatives from the ESSG are now working on the ‘terms of reference’ for the Fan Advisory Board. This will include the aims and objectives of the Fan Advisory Board and the clear, inclusive and independent process for the election of members - which will also be open to supporters unaffiliated to any fan groups.

The concept of a supporter committee or custodian group to advise the Board on key fan related matters was supported by 91% of the 10,000 supporters who responded to a survey issued by the Club in August 2021.

This is just the first step towards more transparency on how the club is run, and though cynics will be quick to dismiss this move as window-dressing, it’s still an important first step that the club were not obligated to make but still have taken.