After each matchday programme, we will be publishing the 'From the Boardroom' article on our website. For Saturday's game against Rochdale, Coventry City Chief Executive Dave Boddy wrote the column and his article is published below:
"Good afternoon and welcome to today’s game against Rochdale here at the Ricoh Arena.
I would like to extend my welcome to the players, staff and supporters who join us from Rochdale this afternoon.
I would like to start this week’s column by talking about the stewarding on matchdays. There have been some misconceptions on social media about the matchday stewarding and the reasons behind certain changes, which hopefully I will be able to clear up.
Ultimate control of safety at the Ricoh Arena falls under Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) – they are the holders of the safety certificate. Their designated Safety Officer runs the matchday from a safety point of view from the control room, in the South West corner of the stadium, working alongside the club Safety Officer Nicki Pollard and her team of CCFC supervisors and stand managers.
We work closely with ACL and their team, as well as the West Midlands Police, having weekly pre and post-match briefings to discuss issues raised in stewarding and other areas of your matchday experience, and how we can improve this for you.
Stewards on a matchday are employed by CCFC, with the exception of some stewards who are employed via an agency to supplement the number of stewards to make sure we have the required number to run the day safely. Stewards are briefed to be “positive, proactive and polite”, and we hope that this comes across to you in your interactions with them.
There have been changes we have been required to make recently to the way a matchday is run, in particular arounds Blocks 14, 15 and 16.
Following overcrowding at the end of last season, this issue was raised with us by the Sports Ground Safety Authority. For some games, there were 3 or 4 people to every seat. The Safety Ground Sports Authority considers the safety risk of standing in seated areas to be significant, and we must take this seriously.
One option put to us was to close Block 14, 15 and 16 area of the stadium, which is something we all wanted to avoid.
Ourselves, ACL and the Police went away to discuss alternatives to this. We then changed operations on matchday in this area, so that now match-by-match sales in this area do not happen – unless tickets are being purchased by a Season Ticket or Match Package holder. We have also increased ticket checks, to ensure fans are sitting in the seats that they have bought a ticket for.
Overcrowding is no longer an issue, and there have been no reported incidents. This shows the changes are working in this respect, and I’d like to thank the fans for their co-operation and the stewards for their work here too. As we said when this was first announced, it will be reviewed at the end of September.
The Police met with the Supporters Forum in August to explain the reasons for the changes. Feedback from the fans showed an understanding of the reasons, and why we wanted to avoid closing blocks, but one issue raised was that Season Ticket holders wanted to buy online for these areas. We have now gone back to Ticketmaster for them to make this possible, and we will update supporters on progress on this.
I know that some fans have also commented on the stewarding in this area, and the way that checks are being made. I would ask that fans with feedback email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can raise this in our weekly meetings, and resolve any issues. We are encouraging stewards to be “positive, proactive and polite” and apply common sense when applying the new ticket checks, and we would ask fans to be co-operative with stewards too. Many of our stewards are Sky Blues fans themselves and all of our stewards do a vital job in ensuring the safety of all of us on a matchday.
I hope you enjoy the game."
Coventry City Football Club