Notes from July 2020 Trust Board meeting
NEWPORT COUNTY AFC SUPPORTERS’ TRUST BOARD MEETING
JULY 28, 7pm
MEETING HELD VIA VIDEO CONFERENCE
REDACTED NOTES FOR PUBLICATION
ATTENDEES (Board members): Shaun Johnson (SJ, Chair), Gavin Foxall (GF), Colin Faulkner (CF), Bob Herrin (BH), Kevin Ward (KW), Mike Everett (ME), Paul Marks (PMa), Kelly Anderson (KA).
ATTENDEES (Club staff): Nigel Stephenson (NS), Ben Lucey (BL).
APOLOGIES: Ryan Courtney (RC), Peter Madigan (PM), Mark Crook (MC)
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM LAST MEETING
- The minutes of the Trust Board meeting held on June 25 were approved as an accurate record.
- MATTERS ARISING
- CF said the Barnardo’s audit report would now be dealt with offline due to size of the agenda for tonight’s meeting. It was agreed to organise a separate meeting to discuss this and safeguarding in general.
- SEASON 20/21 (GF)
- GF gave an update on plans for the 2020-21 season.
- Season now confirmed to start 12th
- Carabao Cup likely to have preliminary rounds week commencing 7th September – TBC.
- Transfer window to run from 27th July to 5th
- Salary Cap to be voted on 6th August 2020 with cap on squad size and expenditure.
- Crowds likely to be allowed to attend in a reduced manner in October – socially distanced at 30% of stadium capacity - TBC.
- 1st Team return to training on 3rd August – under protocol stage 1 conditions. Players will be cardio screened as part of a research programme ; kit packs to be given when attending this event; stage 1 will apply in w/c 03.08.2020 meaning no testing, small group training and assessment; stage 2 will then be introduced in w/c 10.08.2020 meaning testing - 3 sets of squad tests required as per protocols. Risk assessments have been undertaken at all venues – Cwmbran Stadium & Undy AFC (Newport Stadium unavailable for first fortnight of training); stage 1 & 2 have to be lodged with EFL and approved; players have been sent an email relaying the return date, documents to go out and then a call to answer any questions. Consent form to be signed at cardio screening (with club doctor).
- PDP Academy return to training under protocol stage 1 conditions. Scholars and limited number of staff will return ; training will operate under Stage 1 protocols .
- Schoolboys & Shadow Squads will return on 31st August with remaining staff.
- All Academy training during August & September will take place at Lliswerry School - Strict controls will operate in all areas with players having drop off points and no parent attendance at sessions.
- Pre-season schedule leading up to 12th September was explained by BL. This includes pre-season friendlies. BL also explained how Rodney Parade would be set up for matches.
- Return of crowds: The current budget assumes crowds not returning until January 2021, but with the Prime Minister’s announcement and trials underway then an October date could/would have a positive impact on the budget.
- As a result of the emerging picture we have: analysed 2019-20 season ticket sales walk-ups not permitted during restricted period as we will need to identify everyone in stadium for track and trace reasons; explored clusters based on family circumstances but more work needed; engaged with Fowte (ticketing system) and colleagues at Hereford as they are using this system; engaged with Rodney Parade to agree approach and potential staffing to minimise costs; contributed to thinking with EFL; identified the work package required to meet the above.
- The work package to complete the above covers the following: further analysis of season ticket holders – specifically the clusters; creation of a Covid policy for season tickets (who, what, when and how) to be agreed by full Board (likely to be outside of formal meeting due to timescales); two season maps – Covid and “normal”; process of selling season tickets; physical element of the cards using in-house resources; engagement with multiple stakeholders to ensure all parties are comfortable; implementation of the agreed policy and process; external communication.
- Proposed next steps: attendance at EFL iFollow meeting this week as being able to offer a blended season ticket of some kind is still key; bring back a staff member from furlough part-time to undertake the work package as outlined; await Stage 5 protocols from the EFL to ensure we achieve mid-October return of crowds.
- All proposals were agreed unanimously.
- FINANCIAL & COMMERCIAL UPDATE(NS)
- Commercial: assuming £40k Crowdfunder for the front of the home shirt achieves its target, total kit sponsorship revenue (different sponsors for home, away & third shirts front & back) is above budget.
- Hospitality is a We have verbal commitments which meet the budget, but we do not yet know what we will be able to offer. This will be revisited when we have clarity over next season’s protocols.
- Player sponsorship budget is close to target.
- Stadium sponsorship inventory covering LED, Bisley boards and north/south stands sponsorship close to exceeding budget. Aim is to sell all the inventory by the first league game.
- Match sponsorship budget - similar concerns to hospitality. KW suggested the match sponsorship offer should be different to previous seasons for matches behind closed doors. We have additional revenue from Kingsway shopping centre for ticket sponsorship.
- Functions update - a golf day is planned.
- Finance: Recent announcements have had a financial impact in following areas - reduction in forecast furlough income; Covid testing costs. These increased costs are offset by positive variances against previous forecast for Job Retention Bonus Scheme; Premier League Solidarity Payment; Trust donations increased by £12k as previously agreed; Academy Grant balance payment confirmed. At this point the season ticket sales remain as forecast until the picture is clearer. Risk areas of planned income – hospitality & basic award not yet confirmed.
- NS said a revised Budget and Cashflow Forecast would be issued w/c 3rd August for Board approval.
- Furlough: Approach outlined agreed formally by the Board. Claim level remains at 80% but we are no longer able to claim employers’ NI or employers’ pension contributions.
- SALARY CAP PROPOSAL (GF/NS)
- Salary and Squad Size Cap proposal for League 2 to be voted on by clubs on 6th
- Proposed Salary Cap is £1.5m per club. This to include all player-related costs i.e. wages, bonuses, accommodation, relocation, employers’ NI & agent Fees.
- Proposed Squad Size is 20 players aged 21 and over. Unlimited for U21s.
- Transition period season 2020-21 - 22 players aged 21 and over.
- Additional players must be contractually committed by 6th
- Significant penalties for non-compliance.
- A cashflow forecast covering the forthcoming season will need to be submitted to the EFL by 21st August to confirm each club’s ability to meet its commitments.
- Following a discussion around the implications for the Club in the 2020-21 season, the Board approved unanimously to vote in favour of the proposals at the EFL meeting on 6th
- EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (CF)
- CVD issue from October has been fed back to EFL and guidance sought. LPF has been notified as a courtesy.
- GF has written to EFL on Article 48 for us to give full consideration to “vulnerable” and “at risk” supporters for 2020-21 season.
- Diversity in the County working group is set up. It will report into the Community Group.
- NCMHWG Quarterly Meeting w/c August 17th
- Going to write to Heads Together about the mental health work the Club has undertaken.
- SAFEGUARDING (CF)
- One issue raised anonymously with Kidscape charity partnership. As a result, a survey has been sent out to Academy parents to identify if the report has any substance.
- DBS checks for volunteers need to start ahead of supporters returning; volunteer forms to be updated and to include interns.
- Policies, procedures, and guidance to be updated.
- COUNTY IN THE COMMUNITY (GF)
- As agreed at the last meeting, GF asked to speak to Chair of County in the Community to understand better the operation of CITC and our engagement with it as a Club.
- Headlines as follows from meeting: CITC will work more closely with us from an operational perspective to avoid some of the perception issues; quarterly meeting with NS, GF, CITC Chair and Norman Parselle; CITC has requested that the Club considers them more as our charity arm when distributing EFL funds; proposal that NS replace BH as a trustee so the operational elements are better aligned.
- The above was agreed unanimously by the Board.
- BAR AMBER (SJ & PMa)
- SJ and PMa provided an update on Bar Amber closure activities and their RAG ratings.
- ANY OTHER BUSINESS (All)
- GF said the 20/21 away shirt would be launched on Friday. There will be ‘teasers’ on social media on Wednesday and Thursday. The shirt will be available to buy from Saturday.
- BL said Watts Coaches would be the first-team coach provider for the 20/21 season. The coach would be branded and configured to our requirements.
- GF reported that Rodney Parade was currently operating as a Covid testing centre and was likely to remain so for some time to come. NS & BL have been in dialogue with Rodney Parade to understand how the stadium will operate on match days. Conversations have been extremely positive.
- KA reported that Pentagon Financial Solutions have requested a refund on their 2019-20 season sponsorship of Clwb Spytty and other commercial purchases. The only items not delivered in the sponsorship agreement mostly relate to the remaining four home games of the season along with the match ball sponsor for 13th April and an end of season party which was not possible due to Covid-19. The Board was disappointed but agreed a refund of £366.22.
- GF reported that Chris Ball had resigned as Media Officer after being offered a job working with Formula 1. Due to timescales around return to training, shirt launches, and season start, Callum Ellis has been appointed as his replacement.
- KW said the quarterly Trust newsletter would be published online tomorrow.
- KW requested that the Club/Trust AGM dates be included on the agenda for the next full Board meeting.
- KW requested that the timetable for this year’s Trust Board elections be included on the agenda for the next full Board meeting.
Meeting closed at 9.40pm.
Next meeting: Thursday, August 27, via video conference. Start time 7pm.