The Portland Timbers and Thorns Front Office today told ESPN that the club has ended monthly meetings with the 107 Independent Supporters Trust’s elected board members. According to Caitlin Murray of ESPN, the 107IST elected members will still communicate with the club about game day logistics but the communication with executives has halted.
The front office canceled meetings with the 107IST board following the allegations of Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly against former Thorns coach Paul Riley. The groups did not meet during the months of October, November, December and January, and now the club has announced that they have ended these meetings.
The Portland Timbers/Thorns front office used to meet with supporters each month. Since allegations emerged that former coach Paul Riley sexually abused players, the club has refused to meet. Now, the club tells ESPN it's ending those meetings permanently: https://t.co/0mhwNtNY8v— Caitlin Murray (@caitlinmurr) January 15, 2022
ESPN published this statement from the club:
“We believe the 107IST needs to be more inclusive and open to differing viewpoints from its small group of leadership. If a relationship is one-sided in a desire to drive protest over facts and players’ desires, it isn’t sustainable. We’ve come to the conclusion that the previous framework for dialogue and communication is due for a refresh and we will no longer be holding 107IST meetings in their current form as we look to increase our broader communication and input loops to the entirety of the supporters groups.”
The club didn’t provide a comment to ESPN for Murray’s story about another point of contention between the fans and the front office — the drafting of Sydney Nasello from the University of South Florida. The club also declined to comment to ESPN about Gavin Wilkinson’s role at the club.
The Timbers’ and Thorns’ supporters relations with the front office has deteriorated throughout 2021 and the start of 2022 and this statement is doing nothing to remedy those previous damages.
Murray’s full piece detailing the rift between supporters and the PTFC front office can be found here.