Fans from Yorkshire and the Midlands joined the EFL at Bramall Lane last night for the latest EFL Fan Forum.More than 70 supporters from 15 clubs heard talks from the EFL and leading representatives from the game as part of the ongoing commitment to engage with supporters across the three divisions.
Former referee and PGMOL Head of Community and Engagement Chris Foy was joined on stage by Sky Sports pundit Peter Beagrie and their Senior Planning Producer for the EFL, Sean Boyle.
Foy spoke first, providing supporters with a light-hearted but informative look at the role of the match officials, highlighting some of the difficulties they face on a match-by-match basis. Foy’s interactive presentation let supporters get to the heart of refereeing and ask important questions about match officials’ decisions.
He said: “It was great to get to Sheffield United and speak to different supporters because they are so passionate about football.
“We had some interesting discussions and overall I think all in attendance gained [from the presentation]. We know now that four clubs want us to do something specifically with them, which is fantastic news.
“These types of events are very important. We can answer questions and bring everyone closer together.”
Beagrie, no stranger to Bramall Lane after spending two seasons of his 23-year career with the Blades in the EFL, represented the views of an ex-player and a pundit towards match officials.
Supporters then heard from Sky’s Senior Producer Boyle, who outlined how the EFL’s broadcast partner is working to bring fans closer to the game, incorporating new innovative ideas into their coverage to enhance the experience of football fans nationwide.
Central to his presentation was the joint ‘five-week commitment’ that has been made between Sky and the EFL ahead of the 2016/17 season to ensure fans are given as much advance notice of fixture changes as possible.
EFL’s Director of Communications Mark Rowan and Competitions Manager Paul Snellgrove also spoke and explained details about fixture selection and the working relationship between Sky, the EFL and the relevant authorities to this issue.
The evening concluded with an open Q&A between supporters and the panellists. Further EFL Fan Forums are planned across the country throughout the next two months.