3 December 2019

By Martin Buckley

Firstly, as President of the Sounders FC Alliance Council, I would like to personally apologise for the late changes in dates, venue and format of the Alliance Annual Business Meeting.

I would like to take a few moments and give some comments and colour regarding the 2019 Annual Business Meeting; specifically addressing some of the questions Alliance Council has received and to extinguish the speculative, inaccurate and sometimes malicious commentary that has been circulating.

Firstly: Alliance Council took your feedback from the past two Annual Business Meetings to heart. We heard that the streaming worked for many – but that you missed a lot of the connection and contacts that came from a larger in-person event. The two Annual Business Meetings that were held in the Ninety were smaller in size – but the number of RSVPs to attend were small. In addition we supported the Club in setting up the now annual Fan Appreciation event during the Summer – which allowed a lot more of us to celebrate, meet with players and listen to our ownership and General Manager.

Secondly: the Annual Business Meeting is an important review of the year for Alliance members. Our Constitution demands the meeting at the close of the playing season. This requires a partnership with the Club at all levels. Without this partnership it is near impossible to hold a meaningful meeting – you expect and deserve representation from Alliance Council, Ownership, Front Office and our General Manager.

Since December 2018, Alliance Council have been requesting a larger, in-person event. The club was broadly supportive. During the Spring and Summer our working group was meeting to discuss the requirements and logistics for such an event. During the Fall of this year we were jointly reviewing venues that would support this in-person event. Our original preference for a date was before the playoffs, during the international break. Club limitations prevented this. We settled on a date in mid-November. We had a date, a venue and started the communication.

There was a wrinkle. We knew that our strong finish in the West would mean home playoff games. We knew that permutations in the East gave a small chance of a home final. Then we beat LA. We all held our breath while Toronto did their piece. The Front Office went into MLS Cup overdrive – selling out the stadium, preparing for our biggest home game – and also planning for a potential parade in the week following the cup game.

Hosting the cup, celebrating the parade – that meant that the original meeting could not happen on the same day. Complications were added as ownership and our General Manager were being pulled across the continent for league and confederation business. It’s December – and at short notice most venues are not available. This is where we are.

As I said – we listened – and winning our second star got in the way.

Democracy in Sports requires being thoughtful. Our ask for 2020 is that the Front Office work with Alliance Council early – and lock down the Annual Business Meeting for 2020. We ask that the date and venue details are communicated pre-season so we can have the Annual Business meeting that we all expect and deserve.