Previous STAR News

RFC Senior Managers Meeting With STAR - 31st May

Our latest meeting with RFC senior managers took place at the Mad Stad on 31st May and included issues on consession ticket prices at Wembley play-off and the pitch invasion after Fulham fixture amongst others.

You can download a summary of notes from the meeting here.

The Southern Regional Sky / EFL Fan Forum

Three STAR representatives attended the regional Sky/EFL Fan Forum at Sky HQ in Brentford on 20 March 2017 along with about 50 representatives of other southern EFL clubs. In essence this was a 'them telling us' session with a chance for us to ask a few questions at the end.

The most interesting speaker was ex-ref Chris Foy on the recent changes to the Laws of the Game.

There are now 2 groups of professional referees, 18 referees and 27 assistant referees in Select Group 1 (mainly Premier League but not exclusively) and 18 referees in Select Group 2 (mainly Championship) with 36 assistant referees who are not full time professional.

Chris then took us through a few of the 84 Law changes that were brought in this season:

- Denial of a goal scoring opportunity – outside the penalty area this is a red card but in the penalty area, if there is a clear attempt to play the ball, it is only a yellow card (and a penalty of course).

- Offside in your own half – if a player is in an offside position in the opponents half but crosses the half way line before he plays the ball, then the offside offence is where he plays the ball so it can be in his own half and that is where the free kick is taken (as we know from the game this season where many of us got irate at the repeated free kicks for offside in our own half).

- Fouls off the field of play – this is penalised with a direct free kick on the line nearest to where the foul took place.  So if the foul was over the bye-line within the penalty box it is a direct free kick inside the penalty area – a penalty.

- Injured players needing to leave the field of play – if the offender is carded and the injury is treated quickly then the injured player does not need to leave the field of play.

- Handball – there are 4 factors to consider:
The proximity and speed of the ball
The movement of the hand – is it towards or away from the ball?
The expected position of the hand
Does the player try to make himself bigger?

- Holding in the penalty area – physical contact is an acceptable part of the game so the factors to consider are:
Is the player only focusing on his opponent and paying no attention to the ball?
Is the shirt being pulled and is it being pulled back?
Is the holding sustained and preventing the opponent moving?

- Participant behaviour – this covers such as dissent, being visibly disrespectful, responding aggressively, confronting the official face to face and running towards the official to contest the decision.

- Offensive behaviour – using insulting language to an official is a red card

- Physical contact – non-aggressive but intrusive manner is a yellow card and aggressive manner is a red card.

- Surrounding officials – if 2 or more players surround a player it should be a yellow card for at least one of the players.  The FA will also sanction teams retrospectively.

- Technical area – the code of conduct is more rigorously enforced.  The 4th official is required to retain professional detachment from the players and the club.

During the presentation there was footage of actual incidents and these just reinforced how hard it is to see all that is happening and make the correct decision. 

In a conversation following the presentation ex-player and Sky pundit Scott Minto made the point that players make mistakes just as referees make mistakes but the decision is made to the best of the referee’s ability and honestly.  Another question was on the role of assistant referees who appear to just follow the referee’s signals – but apparently now they are all miked up so the assistant may well have informed the referee before raising his flag so it is not always what it seems to the crowd.

All in all an interesting and informing presentation that we hope we will be able to bring to STAR members in the future. Chris Foy said he would happily consider attending a STAR Fans Forum.

Fixture disruption caused by TV

The other speakers were from the EFL and Sky and the main issue here was the fixture disruption caused by the televising of fixtures. A total of 253 PL and EFL matches are televised, none at 3pm on Saturdays or against European fixtures. The EFL fixtures are fitted in after the PL matches are chosen and the authorities feel they are doing well to offer a minimum five weeks’ notice period of changes. They are continuing to work with rail authorities and hotel groups to try to lessen the financial impact of date changes on travelling fans.

However the five weeks rule is not a total guarantee and can be breached as a consequence of rearranged cup ties. Such a breach recently saw Newcastle travel to Brentford on a Monday night and they were unapologetic about the choice of a match between two clubs so far apart. It was also interesting to note that when push comes to shove Sky can legally insist on a match being televised against the resistance of the club as Leeds found out recently. In short there seems to be almost no flexibility to take into account the wishes of the clubs or the difficulties of the fans, nor any desire to create more flexibility or lower the number of games covered. Indeed most club owners want to be covered more often! Sky's deal is worth £90m pa to the EFL and they did suggest something of a sense of entitlement on the evening. Without knowing anything of the finances they might actually be doing the EFL a big favour, of course. They did not ask for our views on the quality and nature of their coverage. Paula Martin / Roger Titford.

Reading FC Hall of Fame - 13 New Names Inducted

HoF-logo.pngOur annual STAR’s Reading FC Hall of Fame event was held on Thursday 30 March at The Princess Suite at the Madejski Stadium. 13 new names were inducted.

There were a number of displays, a quick-fire quiz run by Ady Williams and won by Graham Bryant, and a raffle for the shirts Sean Morrison and Jem Karacan wore at Old Trafford.

Many thanks to all those at STAR who helped to bring about the event, to the various groups who exhibited, to Paul Allen and Ady Williams on the microphones, to the club officials who came along, to those who spoke on behalf of the inductees and of course to the supporters attending to pay tribute to some of our great names.

For more information about the Hall of Fame and our current inductees, including the 13 new ones announced at this latest event  visit our Heritage & Hall of Fame page.

Stadium Car Parking Charges

We’ve received some negative feedback from members about the 2017-18 stadium car park fee. The first STAR knew of the increase in charges from £180 to £230 per season was when the club made the public announcement. In percentage terms STAR agrees it’s a very substantial increase and from a PR point of view would have been better staggered over two years, given there was no increase last season.

In effect the new price offers no discount over current on the day pricing around the stadium which has risen to £9 in some places (eg Holiday Inn) or may rise to that level next season, given that the loss of Worton Grange and tighter enforcement of restrictions (Green Park, Costco) will increase demand. If we assume 23 home league games and two cup games then £230 divided by 25 matches is £9.20 per game.

It is fair to say far more people will benefit from the season ticket price reductions than will suffer from this increase in parking charges. Nevertheless STAR strongly believes that convenient and economic access to the stadium has been a crucial component in the success of the Madejski Stadium attracting higher attendances – and that making access to the stadium more difficult and expensive, especially at times when the club isn’t doing well, is a real danger. We have a significant proportion of supporters who come from places where public transport to the stadium isn’t a realistic option. We also have a significant number of supporters who would choose not to use public transport, especially for midweek matches, because they come with young children, or they find walking and standing for long periods difficult or don’t wish to travel alone.

Over the past year, and in the light of the proposed Royal Elm Park development (which eventually will be built on the Red Car Park anyway), STAR has repeatedly raised concerns about this issue and offered a couple of constructive suggestions, one of which the club is actively pursuing. STAR has also formally objected to the Royal Elm Park planning proposal on the grounds of lack of car parking provision. Twenty years ago the plans for the stadium suggested up to 2000 car park spaces and the possibility Green Park rail station might be with us!

All STAR can do is continue to implore the club to take notice of this issue and not put all its eggs in the public transport basket, to do what we can to unlock the potential / wasted spaces around the stadium on match days and to suggest that the Mereoak P&R option can actually be a good, cheaper alternative for some people. The club has been informed of our views this week.

STAR Secures ACV Listing For The Madejski Stadium

On 13th April STAR were informed that Reading Borough Council had granted our nomination to have the Madejski Stadium listed as an Asset of Community Value. This means that should the owners ever wish to sell it STAR has the right to be informed about this and to make or be part of a bid to purchase it. STAR believes there is no present danger whatsoever of such a sale happening.

Supporters Trusts and other bodies at other clubs have been granted ACVs, notably at Old Trafford, Anfield and St James’ Park (Newcastle). In Reading some of our finer pubs and King’s Meadow Pool are also listed as ACVs.

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