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RSF Club News Update – January 2024

On Australia Day morning RSF President Neil Ballment and VP John Lang, caught up with Zac Anderson COO of Brisbane Roar FC to discuss a wide range of issues which have been raised by Members and Supporters of BRFC, as well as issues the RSF see as important for the better running of the club and improving the fan experience.

At this stage there is nothing that we are able to report, however we do expect some news as the club looks to lock in a Forward by the end of the weekend. – Stay tuned.

Following the Red Card issued to Jay O’Shea in the Jets match, the Club contacted the Match Review Panel (MRP) on Wednesday morning to see what could be done about the decision regarding Jay O’Shea’s Red Card. The Club were told that Jay would probably get 3 games due to it being “Serious Foul Play” as reported by the Referee. The Roar argued their case and put forward examples including the Majok incident the previous game where no card was issued and had the suspension reduced to a 1 game Match Suspension. The Club was advised that if it did had not accept the decision and appealed, he may have received a 2 or 3 match suspension.

The RSF put forward a few suggestions regarding how the Unite round was organised. The RSF suggested that the Active Support groups share the usual home and away active support areas behind each of the goals, and that during the period between games the Active Support for the next game swap into the respective active home or away support bay. We suggested that all seating in the stadium be classed as GA to make it easier for fans coming and going for each game. Finally, we suggested that the club investigate during the off season setting up a travel plan to bring fans together to travel cost effectively to the Unite round. The RSF will follow this up at the end of the season.

Over the last few seasons, the RSF have organised a Soft Toy Throw at a home game for charity. In the past this was done before Christmas and proved very popular with supporters and the Charity groups like Ronald McDonald House & Hummingbird House. Because of tight time frames around Christmas (and with other organisations collecting toys as well) we decided that we move the Toy Drop/Throw to a game around Valentines Day this year (The Melbourne City Game on the 10th February).

Unfortunately, the RSF & Club request to allow Fans to throw the Soft Toys onto the field was outright refused by Suncorp Stadium Management. The RSF has made a detailed submission to the Stadium Management pointing out the benefits to the Club, the Stadium and the Fan Experience as well as to the children who will be the recipients of the toys. The RSF has also pointed out that such Toy Throws are held at a number of Football grounds internationally and have been held quite successfully at Kayo Stadium and Perry Park. Whilst the RSF has yet to receive a response from Suncorp Stadium Management, the Toy deposit will go ahead one way or another and the RSF is working with the Club and Suncorp Stadium to make sure this is a huge success, as all toys will be donated in time for Valentines Day, to share the love. So please start collecting new toys ready for the release of information regarding this important event. Mark the 10th February to bring your new soft toys to the Roar/City home game at Suncorp

One thing that the RSF observed during the Unite round was the ability of Active Support to have a platform for the Capo to lead the group from. The RSF feels that it is an important part of managing and energising The Den and adding to the Fan Experience. Unfortunately Suncorp Management have again refused to allow this to be done despite previous years of having a Capo stand. We understand that the Club will be pushing Suncorp Stadium Management to change their view on this international Football tradition. Zac further advises that the Club is looking to make it work at Ballymore when the Men play there later in the year.

The RSF is concerned about an apparent, breakdown in relationships between the Queensland Police Service (QPS), Stadium Security and the Den participants. The RSF understands that the QPS have expressed concerns with safety issues around The Den, during their march down Caxton St as well as the unsafe use of flares during these events. Fans have complained about, and RSF Members have noticed a quite heavy-handed and severe approach being applied by Stadium Security which is not acceptable and interferes with a positive Fan Experience. Zac advises that the Club has been working with all three groups and believes that a better working relationship and understanding of the issues with all involved has been achieved. Hopefully this should result in a better Active Support experience for everyone, including a
more family friendly atmosphere.

The recent opening of the Brendale Training facility which was reported on Social Media was largely the opening for Moreton City Excelsior Football Club, whose grounds and premises are fully completed. Kaz and Zac received a late invite along with a few Roar players to be on hand to witness the handing over of the keys. Roar’s portion of the facility is currently nowhere near ready for the Roar to move in. There is little or no grass on the training fields and the building fit out still needs completion. In the meantime, the Women’s Team continues to train in the great facilities at QSAC where we are told they are very happy. This arrangement is in place until the end of the season. The Men are training at the Football Qld (FQ) Facility at Meakin Park. Roar Supporters will be aware of the quality of these facilities and we are told that the Men will train there at least until the end of the season with the club having an ongoing agreement with FQ.

We asked for a Fan Open Day at Brendale so fans can see the facilities, and we understand that this will happen in time, when the facilities are complete perhaps some time in July. In the meantime, the RSF will organise a Fan Open Day at the QSAC facility so Fans can see the women training and view the facilities there as well.

We discussed how the Club was building relationships with FQ and the direction the Club is heading in the search for a Home Ground in the future. We were told that an upgraded Perry Park would make a great site for a Home Ground, shared of course with others, and the Club would want to work with FQ and the Strikers to make sure that a stadium is a fit for purpose football venue. A lot of work is going on behind the scenes regarding the building of other future facilities as a home for Football in Queensland, and BRFC is at the table during these discussions.

Of the 2 Petitions that the RSF supported, the Council Petition is now closed and the State Government petition will be open for signatures until end of May. We discussed the implications of this with Zac and he told us he has talked with the Strikers regarding this and the need for the Perry Park redevelopment to continue, with all sides working together. We discussed the decision of the current Government to hold an inquiry into the
redevelopment of the Gabba, for the Olympics and what it might mean to the Football Community. Like everyone we hope this will mean a more equitable outcome for football and other sports.

Issues have been raised with the RSF from Members and supporters regarding interaction (or lack of) with the Men’s Team after recent home games, we discussed this issue and Zac has assured us that the players and coaches are well aware of the need for the Team Members to interact with supporters win lose or draw, and there should be an improvement in future.

The RSF has been invited to work with the Club to achieve a better after game experience for fans and players. What form this will take we are yet to explore, if you have any ideas, please send us your thoughts for input. Interaction between Supporters and Team Members at the Women’s games have not proved to be an issue. We did discuss with Zac a reported issue regarding the placement of Active Support at Perry Park for the Women’s Games. Zac has assured us that the Club supports The Roar Corps at home games and has assured us this will be resolved. The Club considers Fan Experience a vital part of both Men and Women’s games and this must always include a very active Supporter base.

The RSF were asked the other day about what is happening with the Advisory Council. At present the last Council meeting held late last year still does not have the minutes published on the Roar website. We discussed this with Zac and this will be fixed. The next Council meeting will be held next week and we should see the minutes from this meeting up on the Roar Website shortly thereafter.

The RSF raised the issue of the Clubs financial position of the Club following enquiries from Members. Zac showed us the most recent digital report from the Clubs accountants showing a large improvement on the Club’s financial position compared to previous years.
As these reports are commercial in confidence the Club does not make these available, and of course the RSF does not have a copy.

Since Kaz and Zac have come into the positions of managing the club it has not been smooth sailing. The signing of Ross Aloisi seemed to start well and has actually given the team a bit of breathing space on the ladder during the current difficult times with the Men’s Team results. Zac believes everything he and Kaz have put into place in administration is working and will put them in a position to focus more on, the “on field” issues.

Unfortunately, a very large number of players have been out injured, 3 Coaches in a short period of time in the Men’s Team, and a change of coach in the Women’s team have not made it easy regarding Team performances. Changes of training venue for the Men, not once but twice have not helped either. It should be remembered that the arrangements for Ballymore were set up by the previous administration and while they perhaps should have worked, the fields were not up to the standard required for a professional football side. With an improved relationship with Football Queensland, the Men have now set up a training base at Meakin Park and will be there until at least the end of the season, if not

The last 6 weeks at the club have been difficult for Kaz and Zac especially having to not only deal with Club issues and getting the administration back on track, they have also had to deal with death threats to each of them. It’s been especially hard for Zac who was also dealing with personal family health issues over the Christmas period as well. After talking with Zac for an hour and a half we are satisfied that the RSF and its Members are now being heard and their concerns acted upon. Zac assures us that the Club is heading in the right direction, the administration side has turned around and debt is under control. With the changes put in place Kaz believes that we will see the Club become stronger and more competitive in the future and that there will be an improvement in player recruitment. Zac has asked that we hold these open and frank discussion meetings more regularly where the RSF can put forward Members and Supporters views as well as issues the RSF sees
need addressing.

So if you have any issues you would like addressed, please email them into us at
Neil Ballment – RSF President
John Lang – RSF V/President