Wednesday, 26th June 2019
Stronger together: fan groups join forces
Filed: Monday, 10th June 2019
Author: Staff Writer

The West Ham United Independent Supporter Association and Hammers United have jointly written to West Ham United with regard to the club's refusal to liaise with independent supporter groups.

Since Karren Brady created the heavily-criticised Official Supporters Board (OSB), which itself replaced the discredited Supporter Advisory Board (SAB), independent supporter groups and concerns have been snubbed by the club.

However the two independent groups have now joined forces to write to West Ham in order to ask why the club continues to refuse to engage with the democratically-elected organisations such as WHUISA and HU.

The letter, which was drafted on behalf of the groups by KUMB member Doc H Ball, also presses the Board to explain why they continue to observe merely the most basic UEFA regulations regarding communication with supporter groups.

Addressing the letter to West Ham's only full time Supporter Liaison Officer Jake Heath, with whom previous exchanges have already taken place, it read: "As stated in your letter and previously, the club says that it refuses to engage with supporter groups outside of the OSAB.

"We would ask you to consider, in your role as Supporter Liaison Officer, if this complies with UEFA and PL regulations regarding supporter liaison. As you are aware, the creation of a SLO is a requirement as is engagement and recognition of ‘stakeholders’ concerns.

"We appreciate that the club have created what they consider to be a compliant structure but it is noted that this does not have democratically elected representatives, appears to comply with the bare minimum terms and does not actually engage the Board with issues of the most relevance to the supporter base.

"We urge you and the Board again to engage with us both as representative bodies. If not then we intend to make a formal complaint to UEFA, the PL and to The Department of Culture for breach of the regulations and the good governance of football guidelines.

"We are left with nowhere else to go."

Meanwhile a post on WHUISA's website, published confirmed the joint action. "We believe that, in this instance, our two organisations are stronger when working together, and we are hoping that a positive resolution and working relationship with the club will result," it read.

The collaboration comes just a matter of days after former ISA Chairman Lew Ozarow resigned from his post, in the wake of a contentious article published by the Newham Recorder.