The OEC has seen the statement issued today by the Club on behalf of the Safety Certificate Holder, Mr Abdullah Lemsagam and the Lead Director of Safety, Mr Barry Owen. The OEC was not notified of the intention of the Club to issue this statement.
The OEC notes the restrictions that the Club is seeking to impose and, in particular, limiting access to the OEC to season ticket holders and purchasers of pre-paid match day tickets.
The Council and the Safety Advisory Group has raised with both the OEC and the Club the need for an operational agreement between the OEC and the Club to ensure continuing compliance with safety requirements. The OEC signed an agreement which it understood was accepted by the Council and the Safety Advisory Group and which the Club has declined to sign. The Club has sought instead to require the OEC to enter into an agreement which contains the restrictions referred to above and also contains other conditions which are unacceptable to OEC.
The Council has noted that an agreement has not been reached but, contrary to the assertions by the Club, the restrictions that the Club is seeking to impose are not requirements of the Safety Advisory Group or the Council.
The claim that the OEC has not been compliant in relation to safety issues is not correct. The current arrangements which the Club is seeking to alter have been in effect since July and have been operated in conjunction with the Club’s safety officer, Steve Clarke, who is the individual with ultimate responsibility for safety matters on matchdays.
It is the position of the OEC that the Club has no right to impose the restrictions and that in doing so the Club is acting contrary to the interests of the fans of Oldham Athletic. In the absence of a specific direction by the Safety Advisory Group or the Council, the OEC intends to continue to operate in accordance with the arrangements that have existed since July. In the event that the Council or the Safety Advisory Group do raise any issues with regard to safety arrangements in respect of the North Stand and which affect the OEC, then the OEC would of course work with the Council and Safety Advisory Group to resolve those issues as a matter of priority. If safety issues are indeed the concern of Mr Lemsagam and Mr Owen then the OEC would expect them to do likewise.