The FA's Director of Marketing and Communications Paul Barber met with England f
The FA's Director of Marketing and Communications Paul Barber met with England fans last night to discuss The Football Association's recent decision to decline its allocation of tickets for the forthcoming away qualifiers against Macedonia and Turkey
At an independent forum in London organised by members of englandfans - the Official Supporters Club - Barber listened to the views of 70 fans, who were understandably concerned about the implications of the decision. Though many disagreed with The FA's policy, the need to treat hooliganism seriously and the risks associated with both fixtures were acknowledged. He sounded a positive note about the upcoming away fixture with Portugal and made it clear that The FA will do everything possible to cooperate with the host authorities if England qualify for Euro 2004.
The meeting was also a chance to review the range of positive initiatives that have been organised by The FA and the fans in partnership, including the goodwill visits to South Africa, Raise the Flag at home games, and the campaign to eliminate booing of the opposition's national anthem.
Barber explained why the meeting had been so important:
"Our decision to decline tickets to these fixtures understandably disappointed some members who follow England all around the world. In a sense, they too are victims of the hooligan minority, which is too large for any of us to ignore.
"The meeting was a great chance to discuss steps towards improving the behaviour and reputation of English supporters. It was a highly constructive evening and I was pleased to have had the opportunity to meet and hear from so many fans face to face."