EPL

Chelsea introduce fan presence at board meetings following Super League misadventure

By Sports Desk May 04, 2021

Chelsea have announced plans to allow three supporter representatives to attend board meetings from July 1 as they look to rebuild their relationship with the fanbase following the European Super League debacle.

The Blues were one of 12 teams to join the proposed breakaway league last month, only to then change their decision within 48 hours as the plans began to crumble.

Chelsea's withdrawal came amid pressure from the media, politicians, fellow clubs, UEFA, the Premier League and the Football Association (FA), while hundreds of supporters gathered outside Stamford Bridge prior to a match against Brighton and Hove Albion, with Petr Cech having to mediate with the protesters.

In an open letter to Chelsea's fans after the withdrawal, the club's board and owner Roman Abramovich offered their apologies, claiming they signed up to the Super League in order to keep in touch with their major rivals.

Fan-led backlashes have left each of England's so-called "big six" under pressure, with Manchester United supporters forcing the postponement of their game against Liverpool on Sunday due to their passionate protesting against the club's owners, the Glazer family.

Chelsea have taken a step towards rebuilding fan trust by ensuring the supporters have a presence at future board meetings.

A statement read: "Three supporter advisors, picked through an election and selection process, will attend board meetings to ensure general supporter sentiment is considered as part of the club's decision-making process.

"The club will now consult with the Fans' Forum and several non-official supporter groups to discuss the club's proposed process for picking the three supporter advisors.

"Criteria for nominations as well as final selection will ensure that the supporter presence is representative of our supporter base generally and is inclusive and diverse. A new selection will be made before the start of each season.

"The successful candidates will be required to enter into a confidentiality agreement, similar in scope to the confidentiality obligations of a member of the Chelsea Football Club board of directors. This will allow the club to discuss and seek advice on a broad range of matters.

"The supporter advisors will not have any voting rights and will not participate in any meetings relating to players, staff, the academy and related matters.

"Supporter advisors will attend approximately four meetings per year, and more if appropriate. If they complete the year successfully, they will be entitled to select a UK-registered charity to receive a contribution of £2,500 from the club."

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    FIFA has sent its "deepest condolences" to the friends and families of the eight people who died in a stampede at the Olembe Stadium during Cameroon's Africa Cup of Nations win over Comoros.

    Reports began circulating of a disturbance outside the ground as Cameroon claimed a 2-1 last-16 win on Monday, with local media and the Associated Press suggesting at the time that several people had been killed.

    The Confederation of African Football (CAF) said it was aware of the incident and was gathering "more details" on what had transpired.

    A statement released overnight by Cameroon's Ministry of Communications then confirmed that, after a "first assessment", eight people had lost their lives in the crush.

    Another 38 people were injured, with seven of those in a serious condition.

    The ministry did not immediately respond to Stats Perform's request for comment, but a widely reported statement read: "The Government of the Republic brings to the attention of the National and International Opinion that during the round-of-16 meeting which was played on Monday, January 24, 2022, between Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and the national team of the Union of Comoros, jostling occurred at the southern entrance to the Olembe Football Stadium.

    "The first assessment of these jostling reports: eight dead; and 38 injured, including 31 light [injuries] and seven serious.

    "The deceased were taken to the Yaounde Emergency Center for the appropriate formalities, and the injured were distributed to four health facilities in the city of Yaounde, where they were immediately taken care of, on very high instructions from the president of the republic, His Excellency Paul Biya."

    World football's governing body expressed its sympathies with those affected by the tragedy soon after.

    Its statement read: "FIFA sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following the tragic incident that took place at Olembe Stadium during the Africa Cup of Nations fixture between Cameroon and Comoros.

    "The thoughts and prayers of the global football community are with the victims, the ones who have been injured in this incident, and all the staff of both CAF and the Cameroonian Football Association (FECAFOOT) at this difficult moment."

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    Newcastle United have made a fresh approach for Man Utd winger Jesse Lingard, according to The Telegraph. The Magpies are happy to pay a £6m loan fee.

  • Aubameyang has little chance of Arsenal future because 'they never knew how to forgive' – Adebayor Aubameyang has little chance of Arsenal future because 'they never knew how to forgive' – Adebayor

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has probably played his last game at Arsenal because the club never learnt "how to forgive", according to former Gunners striker Emmanuel Adebayor. 

    Aubameyang was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy in December for a disciplinary breach, which reportedly related to him returning late from a trip abroad. 

    It was by no means Aubameyang's first indiscretion, having also last year been reminded of his responsibilities after it was claimed he broke COVID-19 guidelines to get a tattoo. 

    The punishment did not stop at having the armband taken off him, though, with Mikel Arteta excluding Aubameyang from the squad for the rest of the month. 

    His exclusion led to Gabon asking for him to be released early for Africa Cup of Nations duty and Arsenal granted that request, only for him to return to his club without playing a single competitive game in Cameroon as he required medical follow-ups after contracting COVID-19. 

    Adebayor knows what it is like to have a fractious relationship with Arsenal and the club's fans, having hit out at both following his 2009 move to Manchester City. Two months later he scored against his former club and ran the length of the pitch to goad Gunners supporters, a celebration that has gone down in Premier League folklore. 

    Such have been his experiences with Arsenal, he seemingly sees no way back for Aubameyang. 

    He told reporters: "I know he's definitely going to go through a lot because that's Arsenal for you. You can't do whatever you do. 

    "They never learn or they never knew how to forgive. So, I know he will go through a lot. 

    "But he's a strong player, he's a good player, he's a fantastic player. I wish him all the best. 

    "I sent him a message already because we just want him to bounce back. 

    "He's our African brother and we want him to keep representing Africa the way he was doing it before the problem. 

    "This is what I know because it happened to me also. Not in the same way, but a way back? At Arsenal, I would be surprised. 

    "But as I'm telling you, he's a great player so let's see how he ends up." 

    Aubameyang has apparently rejected a move to Saudi Arabia, with the 32-year-old said to be eager to stay in Europe. 

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