FA revamps comms team in fight against hooligans

The FA has reorganised its communications team as it launches a

fresh offensive against hooliganism.

The revamped team will promote the relaunch of the disbanded England

Members Club for fans of the national side. The club was scrapped

immediately after England's game with Greece earlier this month

following criticism from the Home Office and within the FA.

A Home Office report blasted the club for not screening members with

violent criminal convictions and for not doing enough to recruit fans

from ethnic minorities.

A redesigned club will be launched before England's next competitive

game, against Germany in Munich on 1 September.

Communications manager Nick Barron, formerly responsible for promoting

the grassroots-level game, has taken up the role of marketing manager

for the new supporters club.

He reports to James Worrall, commercial development manager, who

oversees all marketing and PR work for the club, which has the working

title of Club England.

Head of communications Paul Newman's five-strong team will handle media

enquiries about the club.

PR agency Good Relations was recently taken on to help the FA

communicate the club's situation to the national media, in particular to

home affairs journalists.

Barron said: 'Clearly there are problems with some of the travelling

fans. There are new laws in place to be tougher with fans that cause

trouble and the relaunch of the England Member's Club is part of that

tougher approach.'

He pledged that those with convictions for violence would be banned from

joining and greater emphasis would be put on recruiting families and

those from ethnic minorities.

He added: 'We want a better service. Instead of just arranging tickets,

we want to give a full service and give members a sense of community

that perhaps wasn't previously there. It's important this is

communicated properly to the members and the media.'

Last year, the Football (disorder) Act was introduced in the wake of

violence by England fans at Euro 2000 in Belgium and the


Under the new law, police can ban those suspected of hooliganism, even

if they don't have a conviction.

During Euro 2000, 750 England fans were arrested in Belgium on 16 June

alone, the day before England's game against Germany.

Suspects planning to attend a game can be issued with a notice to attend

a banning order hearing at court, as they leave the country. Fans who

make racist remarks can also be served with the notice.

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