sent by us and Hammers United to Jake Heath of WHUFC:
“ Dear Jake,
Thankyou for your most recent e mail of 29/5/19.
We now write together with WHUISA whom the Club have also refused to liaise with. We write as 2 organisations that only seek to further the interests and concerns of attending supporters. The refusal of the board to enter into dialogue with independent supporter organisations affects us equally and we therefore write on this issue as one.
As stated in your letter and previously, the Club says that it refuses to engage with supporter groups outside of the OSB. We would ask you to consider, in your role as Supporter Services Manager, if this approach constitutes a structured dialogue process.
As you are aware, the creation of a SSM and dialogue with supporter representation is a good football governance Government guideline. Engagement with and ‘ensuring a proper and constructive discourse with the fans’ is also a UEFA regulation (Article 35 of the club Licensing Regulations).
We appreciate that the Club have created what they consider to be a compliant structure but it is noted that this does not have democratically elected representatives, appears to comply with the bare minimum terms and does not actually engage the Board with issues of the most relevance to the supporter base.
The FSA interpret the regulations and guidelines to require Clubs to recognise independent supporter trusts or groups that are constituted along democratic lines. As a number of others have observed, including members themselves, the OSB is neither independent of the Club nor elected by supporters.
In any event, the creation of the OSB does not then mean that the Club can ignore the genuine concerns of other, actually democratic and formal, supporter organisations. In fact they should be welcoming it and encouraging it.
The Club is not following the spirit of the regulations as it must and you, as our SSM, should be ensuring this as much as anyone.
It is apparent to many supporters and observers that West Ham have had a fractious relationship with large swathes of the supporters for some time. This only over emphasises the need for proper fan engagement at this great Club of ours.
We urge you and the Board again to engage with us both as representative bodies. If not then within 14 days we intend to make a formal complaint to UEFA, the PL and to The Department of Culture for breach of the regulations and the good governance of football guidelines. We are left with nowhere else to go.
Lee Rogers.(Joint Secretary)Hammers United. John Ratomski(Acting Chair)WHUISA.”