On 18 March we attended a meeting of fan groups with club officials and a representative of the Metropolitan Police. Here are the minutes.
Fan Group Meeting – Operations
Jenny Winstanley – Operations Manager
Jim McNeil – Saftey Officer
Jason Taff-Evans – Football Intelligence Officer (Metropolitan Police)
Andy Rees – Customer Services Manager / Supporter Liaison Officer
Jordan Hayes – Fan Engagement Assistant
Jeremy Gardner – QPR1st
Paul Moore – DSA
John Reid – LSA
Steve Sayce – IndyRs
Someone was ejected from the Ellerslie at the Arsenal game and had his membership card taken from him. I think he may have had a meeting with the club so may well have been “read his rights” but that has raised questions among other supporters. Do stewards have the right to take property from supporters?
JM – A fan was ejected from X Block at the Arsenal game for winding up Arsenal fans. He was thrown out at half-time and then his son tried to intervene. Both were thrown out and given a 3 game ban. After a meeting with his son, the 3 match ban was lifted. This is a fine example of the club having to react if others react, and in X block there is always a reaction. Stewards are not in house, they are agency staff and work at other London venues, finding consistency is key. Previously the club did employ their own stewards who weren’t up to scratch.
JW – Stewards are able to confiscate anything that contravenes Ground Regulations, for example alcohol. Tickets also remain the property of the club.
Jason – The police have made fewer arrests at QPR this season than any other London club. In fact, the level of arrests is on par with most League 1 & League 2 teams. There have also been the least number of ejections than any other London club, and the most refusals at the turnstiles. Police have only been in the ground twice all season, at the Man Utd game and at the Crystal Palace game due to intelligence. Police will also be at the QPR v Chelsea match in April. There have also been less pyrotechnics thany any other London club with just two all season.
Getting out of Loftus road. Why aren’t stewards controlling the crowds as they leave at the end of the game? I have to wait to avoid the crush!
Can I ask why it’s only the corner of X block that stewards come out along Ellerslie and the school end for a corner etc. I think I understand why they do but why not the whole ground? I’ve heard complaints that when asked to move (when a corner is taken) so a fan can see the game; the stewards literally stand their ground.
JM – I stopped getting letters from the FA since the stewards running out from R block as linesman no longer get abused when the ball goes out for a throw in.
JW – Stewards will be debriefed to listen to the fans more and sit down if in the way. Each steward has a number on them, so please inform us via the text number if this issue continues. The exit situation is controlled in an emergency, but not when it’s not an emergency. This will be looked at.
JW – Any incidents fans can report to the text number which is displayed on the big screen and will be pushed out more publically. (07557 435 421).
Away supporters in home areas
The perception is that this is growing, is causing increasing agro, and increasing risk to safety.
How did an Arsenal fan get into X block? The reason I know is he had an Arsenal top on!
Some believe this is made easier through Viagogo. Can a different system be used in future seasons?
What is the current status with Viagogo? How long does the current relationship / agreement have to run? It doesn’t feel that the policing of away fans in home areas is being managed very well for big games. How does the club propose to address this given the arrangement with Viagogo?
JW – Viagogo gives the club the ability to track the fans who have purchased tickets through them and then remove them from the ground should they be sitting in the wrong end. The issue is quite often overseas away fans, and therefore the club makes the best attempt possible to relocate these fans into the away end. Social media is monitored a lot on a matchday. The issue is also made worse by members who sit in the home end buying tickets for their mates. If these members are consistently doing it they will get banned. 20 were ejected at the Arsenal match.
AR – Viagogo’s contract is up for renewal at the end of this season. The club is currently reviewing this commercial area.
Away supporters’ area
Does this have to be where it is – why not at the School end of the Ellerslie?
JW – The current position of the away end in the Upper School is ideal and you can’t get from one stand to another, therefore the Upper School has separate entrance and exits from the Lower School where QPR fans are situated. The club used to give both the Upper and the Lower (3000 tickets) but now gives just 1800 to away fans. Happy to have a separate meeting around terracing / safe standing in football if fans so wish.
Loftus Road issues
What are the rules about going to the Blue and White bar after the game from other parts of the ground?
JW – The club will have conversations about the rules regarding the Blue & White Bar. If there are any issues please ask to speak to a supervisor and this will go through to the control room.
We would like to bring to your attention how frustrating it is to get to our seats in the upper loft on match days. Last Saturday although in the queue at our gate by 2.50pm we didn’t get to our seats until 3.05pm. Unfortunately, this quite often happens and we would like to know WHY we can’t gain entrance though the Loftus Road turnstiles
JW – In regards to the entrance/exits of the Upper Loft the club acknowledges how difficult this is, and the IN entrance is calculated through P&S factors systems. Each ticket is set for certain zones, and the system doesn’t allow fans to enter through the wrong turnstile.
Exit from the Upper Loft at the end of a game is often queued and crowded. What provisions have been put in place in the event of an emergency?
JM – Looking into the possibility of doing an test evacuation in the Upper Loft. May leave flyers on seats for those it will affect. There is a camera which is monitored in the control room to ensure of no overcrowding. The club may conduct undercover operations in there to make sure stewards are directing fans better.
This is not a stadium thing, of course, but the number at White City is growing. Tay the Spurs game they standing between the pillars at the station entrance, effectively reducing the crowd coming through to single files. That can’t be right!
Is the club of aware of the blatant ticket touting, sometimes very close to the box office, on big matchdays?
Jason – To catch a ticket tout you have to catch the tout, the ticket, the cash & the buyer, and these are often spread out in different locations. You roughly have around a 5% chance of catching the tout, and therefore the operation to catch them would cost the club a lot of money. Most touts aren’t just QPR based, they will be at various grounds around London. Going forward, Transport police will try to disrupt them a lot more, and move them on if they don’t catch them. Jason assures there will be a presence of police for the Everton game on Sunday.
JW – Fans can report any incidents to the text number (07557 435 421). The club have enforced what is our property more, however touts often stand just off of camera.
Drug taking at away games
JM – The club can take action and stop them from getting tickets. Can also ban them from home games if this happens.
Jason – My spotters will look at this and ban those who do.
Thank you to the club and Andy Rees in particular for the invitation to attend. Thanks to Jordan Hayes for compiling these minutes.