By Bradford City Supporters Trust, May 11 2020 09:04AM

On the 11th May 1985 we were supposed to be celebrating our league championship, eagerly looking forward to our return to Division 2 after a 58-year absence, but instead, 56 fans never returned home as a result of the devastating events of that day.

Today, 35 years on, despite the uncertain situation we find ourselves in due to the Coronavirus lock-down, our traditional mark of respect of that fateful day will see tributes and solidarity from football supporters all over the world. They will be at one with us in commemoration and respect for all those who died, or were injured, and for families who lost loved ones.

We extend arms out to all those paying their respects today as we strive to ensure that football never has to witness such tragic event again. Our condolences go out today on behalf of Bantams Supporters Trust.

With best wishes,

From the Bantams Trust Board

By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Apr 21 2020 05:51PM

Dear Members and supporters of the Trust,

What uncertain times we are living in today here and across the world due to this pandemic. We hope that you and your families are all safe wherever you all may be.

We wanted to touch base with you to firstly keep you up to date where league football is concerned and also maintain our community links and communications with you including our survey. You will see these items in the link articles below (as separate article news items).

But first let's start with the state of football, because there has been a lot of information rumoured in the media about how football will start and the financial implications when it comes to television income, which makes football a multi-billion pounds industry. There has been much speculation, but all we can be certain about is that domestic football is still suspended until it is considered safe to resume. You can see a full list of official announcements / updates from credible sources on football throughout the UK and Europe in the FSA's link article here. That information is up to date as of 15th April.

More recently there has been an 'Open Letter' to fans from EFL Chair, Rick Parry, to fans from EFL, dated 17th April, which coincided with the 132nd anniversary of the founding of the Football League and is quite revealing as it gives a clear indication that a return to the remainder of the season will 'likely' be behind closed doors, and that "Plans are continuing to be worked up for all games to be broadcast either via our broadcast partners, iFollow or equivalent Club streaming services.' Talks are ongoing as to the practicalities of how clubs can return to action and how this resumption may affect the following season.

For most City fans, understandably, the resumption of the remainder of the season will not be anticipated with great expectations. Such has been the disappointment of what we have already seen that we face the prospect of grinding out results as a minimum expectation in reaching the finish line of our remaining 9 fixtures. Behind the scenes, there is a palpable financial pressure as a result of the lock-down, keenly felt not only by City but by the vast majority of Clubs.

Clubs, including City, have taken advantage of the government's furloughing scheme (See City's Furlough Leave Statement) which allows the state to fund 80% of full-time staff and players’ wages, up to a value of £2,500 per month per employee. The EFL Joint Statement with the PFA (Players Football Association) gives us a glimpse of the collective arrangements at national level. A 'working group' supports local Club and player discussions and gives the the League and PFA a greater understanding of players' concerns and financial pressures member Clubs are facing. For further details that includes a compromise proposal that has been agreed between the EFL and the PFA, please click on our EFL Joint Statement link.

Obviously this is not an ideal situation, and in these challenging times we hope to update you as we get the information, to help us all understand what is going on behind these ever-changing events.

With best wishes and stay safe.

From all on the Bantams Trust Board

By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Apr 21 2020 05:36PM

For further info about the Club's Furlough situation as a result of the impact of the Corona Virus 'lock-down' situation below:

The club has been in the process of furloughing staff and players, allowing a period of absence as the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact the United Kingdom.

Training was suspended on March 14 after a member of the Bantams’ coaching staff displayed symptoms of COVID-19, and players have not since reported for training.

City’s administrative staff were asked to work from home, where possible, in the days which followed.

Today’s announcement enables the club to retain its employees, while receiving support from the government via the newly-created Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The backing from Westminster sees 80 per-cent of full-time staff and players’ wages covered - up to a value of £2,500 per month, per employee.

And those who have been furloughed will have the rest of their salaries paid by the club.

City’s director of communications, Ryan Sparks, explained: “These measures are far from ideal, though, given the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in, they protect employees who are unable to perform their duties - avoiding forced redundancies.

“From a cashflow perspective, we and a number of our EFL counterparts are facing a great deal of pressure.

“This is no-one’s fault and football's governing bodies have been extremely helpful, but we have to take action in order to safeguard the future of Bradford City.

“There is no indication as to when the season will resume. The governing bodies are continuing to discuss this across Europe and we are hopeful of some progress over the coming days.

“We are very confident this season will be completed in one way or another - and that next season will happen.

“There could be a delay to its start, of course, with a shift in the usual calendar. Discussions with the EFL are continuing around that and we are fully engaged in them.

“That aside, our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the families of those being directly affected by COVID-19.

“Many lives have already been lost in this country, with more coronavirus cases being reported every single day.

“We have to look after our people and ensure football’s future, but it is not a priority at this time.

“Right now, the focus is on staying home, protecting the NHS - which continues to do an incredible job - and saving lives.

“We urge our supporters and the people of Bradford to continue to follow government advice and stay safe.”

By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Apr 21 2020 05:20PM

This statement below gives us a glimpse of the collective arrangements in the form of a 'working group' and how it supports local Club and player discussions and enables the the League and PFA a greater understanding of players' concerns and financial pressures member Clubs are facing:

The EFL has continued to hold constructive discussions over the Easter weekend with representatives of the PFA in respect of the issues created by the COVID-19 crisis, with a particular focus on Clubs in League One and League Two. In addition, the EFL held further talks with Clubs from those divisions at the end of last week.

The EFL and member Clubs recognise that each Club will hold individual discussions with players and that agreements will be reached at a local level. At the same time, Clubs in League One and League Two have acknowledged the strength of a collective approach to support and inform their decisions.

As a result of these discussions, it has been agreed that the EFL and PFA will form a working group of six Club captains/PFA delegates from League One and Two, supported by a representative nominated by the PFA, to engage in dialogue in respect of players’ wages. While the working group will not be a formal negotiating body, it will help to ensure that players are fully informed as they continue to hold discussions with individual Clubs.

In establishing the new group, the EFL and PFA acknowledge the common problems faced by the League and member Clubs, and the need for all parties to be part of a solution. Dialogue with the working group will enable the League both to listen to the concerns of players and to explain the extent of the financial challenges. It will focus not just on the short term (May and June) but will address the medium-term position from the start of July onwards and into next season.

In order to deal with the most immediate payroll issue, the EFL is recommending to Clubs that local discussions are held with players in respect of the month of April only. A compromise proposal has been agreed between the EFL and the PFA for those Clubs engaged in deferral negotiations with their players, meaning that, up to a maximum of 25% of players’ wages for April may be conditionally deferred within the following limits:

Players earning less than £2,500 per month will be paid in full

the 25% reduction must not take any player below £2,500 per month.

This is a recommendation and not a directive as there are Clubs who have stated no requirement to take immediate action at this time.

Further conditions may be agreed at a local level through discussions between individual Clubs and players.

The current position in respect of the Championship is that Clubs last week agreed to conduct wage negotiations with players at a local level, while making financial information available to support their position. A number of Championship Clubs have concluded agreements with players and others will be holding discussions this week.

By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Apr 21 2020 05:09PM

With lots of column inches filled in the newspapers and in the media general about the state of play at the moment, the FSA outlines a number of certainties in an uncertain situation.

A list of various official announcements and latest updates from credible sources as of 15th April, on football throughout the UK and Europe as it affects our clubs can be seen on the FSA website here.

By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Apr 21 2020 05:02PM

Chair of the EFL, Rick Parry dated 17th April, which coincided with the 132nd anniversary of the founding of the Football League informs fans personally of the challenges football is facing and gives his broad outline about how a resumption of the season may look like.

It reads:

Dear supporter,

The COVID-19 pandemic has, quite clearly, brought about challenges which extend beyond the game we all love, and led to an unprecedented and testing situation for everyone.

In these circumstances, open and honest communication is more important than ever, and it is with this in mind that I am writing directly to supporters of every EFL Club today on the 132nd anniversary of the foundation of the Football League.

I want to start by offering my condolences to those who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease. I would also like to acknowledge once again the incredible work being carried out by key workers, including front-line NHS staff and carers, at this difficult time. Their collective sacrifice for the health and wellbeing of others is something to be truly proud of, and one which – on behalf of the EFL – I would like to sincerely thank them for.

It is often said that football is like a family, and we have seen that many of those undertaking vital work are fans of EFL Clubs. From Bristol to Bolton and Colchester to Carlisle, supporters across the country are among the heroes making a positive impact, and it has been heartening to see and hear the stories of people coming together at such a crucial time.

Our Clubs are also rising to the challenge and are carrying out important work in their local communities. We know that eight in 10 people in England and Wales live within a 15-mile radius of an EFL club, so whether it’s offering practical, emotional or physical support, the help football Clubs are providing should not be underestimated.

It is, of course, by continuing to adhere to Government guidelines that we can all play our part in the national effort against coronavirus and so I’d also like to take this opportunity to urge you all to stay at home. In doing so, you will save lives.

When it comes to footballing matters, I understand the desire among fans for definitive answers, particularly around the conclusion of 2019/20 campaign. As I am sure you will appreciate, the situation presents significant operational and financial challenges, including the logistics of Clubs returning to full operational status, the practicalities of playing football behind closed doors, and the possible knock-on effects for the 2020/21 campaign. Please be assured that we are working hard on these and will update you as soon as we can once decisions have been made.

To give you an honest assessment of the current situation; the point at which you will be able to attend games again remains unclear. Please be assured, however, that we are going to welcome you back to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so. Your contribution to the matchday experience and atmospheres created in stadia up and down the country is something we should never take for granted. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you today when football will resume, though whenever we do return, matches are likely to be played without crowds.

And whilst we are unfortunately without the presence of the hundreds of thousands of supporters who pass through EFL turnstiles each week, we will endeavour to bring live football direct into your homes once it returns. Plans are continuing to be worked up for all games to be broadcast either via our broadcast partners, iFollow or equivalent Club streaming services. We will update you on this once we know when matches will recommence.

The contribution to football’s finances made by match-going supporters should not be underestimated. It is critical to the business model of league football. Perhaps the biggest challenge right now is not knowing when we will be able to reintroduce football in front of crowds. We can only hope that the situation develops in such a way that we will be able to do with the shortest possible break.

With or without spectators, delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season remains our goal to ensure the integrity of our competitions. This, of course, means that a number of factors – including when, where and within what timeframe fixtures will be played – must be given careful consideration in line with Government advice. Similar factors must also be taken into account when agreeing an approach towards player training and testing, not least the appropriate level of medical resource and creation of an effective and efficient medical matchday protocol.

As we’ve previously stated, the health and wellbeing of our Clubs, their players and staff, and you – the fans – remains our first priority, and so you can appreciate that we want to give thorough and rigorous thought to these matters.

From the outset, we have committed to regular dialogue with each of these groups, as well as the Government, in order to tackle the challenges we face as effectively as possible. As well as taking into account the current climate in terms of public opinion, including those views of fans, we are regularly taking ideas and suggestions from our Clubs.

Aside from two catastrophic World Wars, this pandemic is arguably the most challenging issue to have affected football since the League was founded 132 years ago. Our Clubs have been left with significant outgoings while facing a sudden loss of income. With this in mind, I’m sure you will be aware of talk about wages and deferrals. Good progress is being made in these areas, with a view to this assisting in delivering medium to long-term solutions that protect our game for years to come.

As I said when I arrived, the EFL and its Clubs matter to many people, but most of all to the supporters. It is natural, at this stage, that you will have many questions, and we will endeavour to continue to provide answers and solutions, but we must do so with your health – as well as that of the entire nation - in mind.

I thank you for your patience so far and ask for more of the same; this is a serious situation which is changing by the day, and one which requires informed and considered decisions. The next few weeks will bring more clarity when it comes to our operational plans and, as always, we’ll look to maintain regular communication.

One thing we can be sure of is that football, and normality, will return, and will so do more quickly if we remain united.

For now, thank you for your ongoing support and, please, stay safe.

Yours sincerely,

Rick Parry

EFL Chair