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Alliance Council Kicks Off 2014

Earlier this week, the Alliance Council held its first meeting of the 2014 season. Here's a report.

Otto Greule Jr

The Alliance Council first took care of normal business, with officer elections. Dan Roe and I were re-elected to the same positions as previous seasons (VP and President), and Angelica Mendoza was elected Secretary.

Sounders Legend (and Business Development Manager) Taylor Graham was in attendance and filled in the Council on a Club proposal regarding the ticket allocation for away Cascadia matches.

This issue has been one that's taken up large amounts of the Council's time over the past seasons. A quick history recap- in 2011, when Portland and Vancouver joined MLS, the Sounders front office (FO) asked the various Sounders supporter groups (SG) to work out amongst themselves how many tickets of the allocation would go to each SG.

The SGs were unable to come to a final number, so the FO asked the Alliance Council to take over the issue and determine the split. From that point on, the Council has worked the issue, with various numbers of tickets allocated amongst the SGs, as well as sometimes allocating tickets to people who aren't affiliated with SGs.

Because of the desirability of these tickets, particularly for the games in Portland, this has taken a significant amount of the Council's time over the years. Through the end of last season and continuing into the off-season, in discussions with the FO and GM/Owner Adrian Hanauer, I encouraged the Club and SGs to try and come to a resolution on this.

At the meeting, Taylor Graham presented the following offer:

1 - That the Club would take back the issue of these tickets, and that they would generally work with the allocation percentages that the Council has established and used over the past few years for the SGs.

2 - The SGs will be given a hard deadline of 3 weeks prior to the game in question, and at that point must turn in their order to the Club. They can order up to their total allocation, or a number lower than that, at their option.

3 - Any tickets from the overall allocation that remain (if any) will then be offered to non-affiliated fans. As always, since the away section is designated for supporters, all people attending (whether in a supporter group or not) will be required to comply with MLS and home club rules regarding the section (such as remaining in the seats for some time after the game while the home fans depart). Additionally, the entire section will be open for flags, banners, chants, songs, and the other usual supporter group activities.

The Sounders and the SGs had a meeting earlier on Tuesday and the SGs indicated that they were willing to accept the proposal.

The Alliance Council discussed the proposal and voted to accept it, and to turn the Cascadia away ticketing issue back over to the Club from now on.

The other main issue that the Council dealt with was a slight restructuring of the Council. An executive committee was created; it will be the three Council officers and up to two more at-large members, elected by the Council from among its membership.

The intent of the exec committee is to provide a more focused leadership group that can coordinate with the Club and make some (limited) decisions in the times between meetings. The overall size of the Council means that coordination with the Club is harder on the Club, because they can be overwhelmed with almost four dozen individual Council members.

This change requires a change to the Alliance Constitution, so at some point this year the Alliance membership will be asked to vote to ratify the decision.

Finally, the Council heard a report and discussion from Likkit Pocinwong about the ongoing activities around the 40th Anniversary celebration. The Club's employees have been digging through decades' worth of old video tape and film - in some cases, trying to find ways to get the 16mm film archives onto today's digital video, and trying to find machines capable of playing some of the old video tape.

They will have a special moment from the past prior to each home Sounders match.

The 40th Anniversary logo will appear on merchandise (coming out soon, so be sure and watch for it; the better the early releases sell, the greater the odds are that they'll come out with more items in a wider variety) as well as on the Sounders jerseys at certain times during the year. Jerseys with the logo on it will also be available for sale in the Pro Shop.

All in all, despite a lot of time spent on technical stuff, the meeting went pretty well. We have some new folks being elected to Council and our intent is that with the new operating structure (which we are going to use this year on an ad-hoc basis, pending approval by the entire Alliance) we will be able to aid fans and supporters in their dealings with the Club, as well as providing the Club with the fans' opinions and thoughts on various matters.

If you have any questions, fire away- several Alliance members are reasonably regular readers and commenters here on Sounder At Heart.

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