Alliance Council statement – call out to MLS

1 November 2017

By Martin Buckley and Stephanie Steiner

As the Alliance Council, representing Alliance Members and fans of Seattle Sounders FC, we recognize and celebrate the diversity of our communities.

Alliance Council and Supporter Groups have worked closely with the Sounders FC throughout the years around the fan experience inside and outside of the stadium.  We gave our strong opinions back in September following a series of incidents. We know that Community is important to all of us, and we continue to have a regular face-to-face engagement to advocate for and represent all fans.

We have seen how Alliance members and fellow fans have not been treated as expected – both at home and last weekend in Vancouver, BC. As fans we have been left frustrated, angry and confused at the vacuum in communication around these serious issues. We encourage all Sounders fans to respect and support each other as a community.

Alliance Council recognize our Club Ownership and Front Office for their continued support – both visible and otherwise. We applaud our Ownership in issuing a jointly signed, though delayed, statement of values: “At a human level, we believe these values to be non-­political. Speaking up for equality is simply the right thing to do.” We believe their statement was originally intended to be stronger, and we believe the dilution and the delay to be caused by MLS decision-makers.

Alliance Council look beyond our Club to Major League Soccer to provide a clear statement of values that recognizes the diversity of the fan base. The silence in this matter is deafening, disappointing and cowardly.  The decision made to eject our fans last Sunday was wrong, and the silence surrounding the decision is wrong.

Soccer is a global platform of inclusion and unity, and even a common language. Soccer is love, passion, and lifelong devotion.  It is these commitments that create the very foundations of Clubs around the world that have existed for more than a century.  Fans first, MLS.  Fans first.

Thanks to Jeff Williams and Roberta King for their content and for reviewing this statement.

Statement from Sounders FC was posted here – http://soundersalliance.org/2017/10/31/statement-from-club/

 

Statement from Club

STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC OWNERSHIP
A public statement from Seattle leadership following Sunday’s Western Conference Semifinals first leg in Vancouver

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2017
Contact: Alex Caulfield, 206-­512-­1225

SEATTLE, WASH. – On behalf of its Ownership Group, Seattle Sounders FC today issued the following statement on the heels of Sunday’s first leg of the 2017 MLS Western Conference Semifinals:

“Seattle Sounders FC is aware of the events that occurred within the club’s supporters’ section during the first leg of the 2017 Western Conference Semifinals at  BC Place on Sunday evening, where two travelling supporters were ejected for holding a sign that read: ‘Anti-­fascist, anti-­racist, always Seattle.’ We would like to reassure our fans that both the league and our club believe strongly in inclusion and acceptance. Tolerance and inclusiveness are pillars of our society, and ideals we take seriously as an organization. At a human level, we believe these values to be non-­political. Speaking up for equality is simply the right thing to do.”

/s/ Adrian Hanauer  Joe Roth Paul Allen  Drew Carey

10-31-17 Sounders FC Club Statement

Alliance Council Executive – comments on Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field statement

12 September 2017

By Martin Buckley and Stephanie Steiner

Alliance Council have been working directly with the Sounders FC around the entire fan experience since before the first game of the season.

The multiple changes for entry to CenturyLink Field, the move to clear bags and limits on sizes of purses have presented many challenges. We continue to present our experiences and concerns to the Club – and encourage all fans to report issues as they occur. Please stay in touch with your ticket representatives and provide details of any concerns or issues (time, gate, person’s name if possible).

We are fans too. We enter the stadium through the same gates and experience the same security teams. During the season we have seen a repeated lack of consistency in the application of gate policy. As stewards of the fan experience we have collected this repeatedly and brought it to the Club.

This past weekend many of our fans reported a range of unsatisfactory experiences. Yes we listened, yes we flagged these immediately post game with our Front  Office representatives.

As fans we won’t see the inner workings of the Club. This is similar to an iceberg. We see the ten percent above the waterline.

The joint statement from the Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field is much like this. Weas fans, as Alliance Council – are not privy to the internal conversations and activities of the Club. I can imagine there were meetings across different groups – and these are likely sensitive.

What we do know is that the Club is listening to us all – Alliance Council, Supporter Groups, and every individual fan who provides feedback. We expect our Club to always celebrate and support the diversity of the fans and our broader community.

What we expect from our Club and the stadium at this time is inclusive, welcoming and consistent treatment for every fan. At the gates. Inside the stadium. Every time.

Alliance Constitution Vote – Thank You!

25 July 2017

By Martin Buckley

Last week we closed Alliance wide voting for the ratification or approval of the updated Alliance Constitution.

We are proud and happy to announce that the Constitution was overwhelmingly approved by all who voted. Thank you! This means that that 2017 Constitution and Bylaws now provide the structure and governance for the Alliance and Alliance Council.

Results:

 Individual UsersWeighted vote
YES97%96%
NO3%4%

It is worth a few notes to discuss these results.

Firstly – turnout was relatively low. We expected this. Although we all love Democracy in Sports – Constitution ratification is a decidedly un-glamourous activity. We certainly expect a lot more Alliance engagement for something as significant as a General Manager Vote. The weighted vote is fully covered here – effectively one seat/ticket – one vote.

Secondly – this vote was our dry-run for the General Manager Vote which is due during 2018. We worked closely with the Club on timing, communication, email, in-ground messaging and the voting platform. We learned a lot. We will continue to refine how we (as Alliance Council) communicate with the Alliance as a whole. We found that more of you engaged through Social Media than through the email from the club. In addition we still have work to do around Alliance awareness amongst newer Season Ticket Holders.

Finally – thank you to the team that helped make this vote happen. To the representatives of the Club who worked on communication, voting platform, in-stadium visibility and more. To the Alliance Council members who advocated for this vote with friends, fellow section members and at the Eintracht Frankfurt friendly. Most of all to you. All of the Alliance Members who voted to support this.

Annual Business Meeting 2017 – an update

21 July 2017

By Stephanie Steiner and Martin Buckley

Annual Business Meeting 2017 – an update

To be clear – the Alliance Annual Business Meeting will be held.

It will be after the close of the regular season and is planned to be held in The NINETY.

The event will be live streamed.

We recognize that the Annual Business Meeting is important, yet at the same time it’s also not terribly convenient for many fans. Location, timing, traffic, weather – all conspire against us.

Early this year we began working with the the Club to make the Annual Business Meeting more accessible. That means reaching out to more people, making it easier for the average fan, and yes reduce the expense of a large production. We coordinated with the Club to meet these goals.

To be clear – the Alliance Annual Business Meeting will be held. It will be after the close of the regular season and is planned to be held in The NINETY. The event will be live streamed.

Also as part of these conversations, we closely examined the degree to which people were embracing Sounders’ streamed events. One eye-opening example of the reach of streamed events are S2 games and even the streamed draft for the Zach Scott Testimonial Game.

The NINETY has a limited capacity. Once Front Office, coaching staff, Alliance Council and representatives from Supporter Groups are present, there is even less space for Alliance Members. We plan to hold a lottery for Alliance Members to be at The NINETY for the event.

We then worked with the club on creating something FOR the Alliance as a whole. This resulted in the 13 August 2017 Season Ticket Member Event – for all Alliance Members – a real benefit to you all. Fans, players, behind the scenes – and at a time when we can all enjoy the Seattle summer.

Looking back – the Alliance Annual Business Meeting attracts pretty much the same 700 people. We have gained almost nothing in attendance. When people knew Schmetz would be promoted, we got up to 1200, but we can’t promote him every year. There were huge investments into player interaction, big lures with photo ops – none of these grew awareness. People don’t want to come out on a rainy November night.

We represent all Alliance Members – we have a duty to consider any and all ways to reach out to those that are unable to attend that in-person event. Technology can be the enabler for this.

Our other commitment to you is to review this change. If it does not work – we will change.

As always – thank you for reading and for your support.

Press Release – Democracy in Sports in Action

“Democracy in Sports in action”

6 July 2017 – Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council today announced an Alliance Wide Vote to ratify an updated Alliance Constitution – demonstrating once again a joint commitment with Seattle Sounders FC to fully embrace Democracy in Sports.

One major addition to the Alliance Constitution sets out the processes and procedures for an Alliance wide Vote of Confidence or a Recall Vote for the Sounders FC General Manager. Seattle Sounders fans have a unique role in US sports in being able to give a Vote of Confidence in their General Manager every four years.

“We are proud that every fan has had a voice through the Alliance since the very beginning of the club,” said Seattle Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer, “The Alliance participation in a general manager vote is unique to the Seattle Sounders and represents Democracy in Sports in action.”

“Getting to this point is a milestone,” said Stephanie Steiner, Alliance Council President, “working with the club over many months to build this framework means that Sounders fans will be able to express their voice for many years ahead.”

Seattle Sounders FC season ticket holders are automatically members of the Alliance and can find more details on this vote at http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com/ratify17

The Seattle Sounders FC Alliance was established in 2008 to deliver on the promise of minority owner Drew Carey to involve fans in the decision-making process of the team. A key tenet of Democracy in Sports is The Alliance giving a voice to fans on matters that impact fan experience. The Alliance Council is the executive and decision making body for The Alliance, members are elected by fans themselves.


Press contacts:

Stephanie Steiner – President, Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council
president@ssfcalliancecouncil.com
@ssfcalliancecouncil.com
http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com

Martin Buckley – Vice President, Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council
vp@ssfcalliancecouncil.com
press@ssfcalliancecouncil.com
@ssfcalliancecouncil.com
http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com