Everton have confirmed that security advisors have instructed the board of directors not to attend Saturday’s meeting with Southampton because of a threat to their safety.
A number of Toffees fans have planned a ‘sit-in protest’ during the game to send a message to Everton owner Farhad Moshiri, with supporters demanding those in charge of making the decisions at Goodison Park are held accountable for the team’s struggles in recent years.
“We can no longer tolerate the failure of the club’s owner Farhad Moshiri to address the glaring leadership deficiencies at the Chair, board and executive levels,” said NSNOW, who are leading the protests.
Ahead of the game, Everton have now confirmed that the directors will not be in attendance following concerning threats to their safety.
“Everton’s Board of Directors have been instructed not to attend today’s Premier League fixture against Southampton because of a ‘real and credible threat to their safety and security’,” a statement read.
“Chairman Bill Kenwright, CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chief Finance & Strategy Officer Grant Ingles and Non-Executive Director Graeme Sharp have reluctantly accepted the outcome of the safety assessment carried out by security advisors.
“The Board members received the instruction following malicious and unacceptably threatening correspondence received by the Club and increasing incidents of anti-social behaviour – including targeted physical aggression – at recent home matches.”
Explaining the decision, an unnamed security advisor is quoted as saying: “Following a thorough risk assessment, and in response to tangible threats received by the Club and intelligence we have gathered, the Club’s Board members have been told they must not attend today’s fixture.”
The club themselves added: “This is an unprecedented decision for Everton Football Club – never before has our entire Board of Directors been ordered not to attend a match on safety grounds. It is a profoundly sad day for Everton and Evertonians.”
Everton have slipped to 18th in the Premier League, having only narrowly avoided relegation last season, and fans are demanding answers from those in charge.