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OXVOX News - Issue 2

OxVox News Issue 2 December 2021

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Issue 2
December 2021

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VOX

Welcome to Issue 2

Welcome to (the long

awaited) Issue 2 of the

OxVox Newsletter.

AGM

We have been hard at work on a

number of issues this week but

we have also been continuing

our preparations for our AGM. As

mentioned in a previous update the

AGM will be held at the stadium

before the Rotherham game on

November the 27th. The meeting

will begin at 12:30 pm and we urge

all members to come along and

get involved. We will also be able

to take memberships on the day so

if you know of any non-members

who want to attend, then £10 will

secure them entry and a three year

OxVox membership.

There will be some formalities to

attend to and we will give some

brief examples of some of the work

we have done since we last met,

but given how long we have had to

wait to meet up we will leave more

time for questions and discussions

afterwards. Our members are

what make OxVox and we look

forward to seeing as many of you

as possible on the 27th. A member

of the committee will be waiting

outside the main reception entrance

from 12 noon to direct members to

the meeting room but please keep

in mind the doors to the stadium

will not be open before that time

and it will take us half an hour to

set the room up properly. We will

endeavour to make sure there is

plenty of spacing and ventilation in

the room.

Stadium

After the encouraging signals

coming from the interview with

Anin Bakrie the other day it is

probably worth taking breath and

reiterating one of the sentiments

from our previous update. While

we are all excited by the forward

thinking intentions of the board,

the project itself is a long way from

being fully off the ground. Despite

the hard work being put in and an

excellent foundation having been

laid (figuratively!) there must be

an acceptance that these projects

are immensely complex and that

there is no guarantee of success,

no matter how well prepared and

funded the application may be.

We continue to work hard with

the club both on the potential

new stadium and other options.

It is clear that our prospective

new owners want to move to a

new stadium but it is also very

sensible to have back up options

that free the club from the difficult

and restricting position we are

currently in and OxVox continue

to work with the club on all of

these possibilities. Optimism is a

fabulous, infectious thing around

a football club, and ours definitely

has that, but let’s not undermine

that with impatience. OxVox

will continue to press for more

access for the trust and better

communication with supporters

and will make sure our collective

voice is heard when the vital

decisions are being taken.

OX VOX

THE OXFORD UNITED

SUPPORTERS’ TRUST

The OxVox

‘Andy James’

Supporter of the

Year – Page 3

Issue 2 Nov 2021


Takeover

We have spoken to Tiger and the

paperwork is still with the EFL. He

does not expect any difficulties

and the prospective owners are

already hard at work moving the

club forward as they have been for

some time. Once the takeover is

compete and the next reallocation

of shares has been completed

we will put together an up to

date listing of the various board

members and shareholdings.

We currently have a couple of

questions lodged with the club

regarding this process. As always

we will report back when we hear

more.

Anindya Bakrie

Following the interview given

by Anindya Bakrie on Radio

Oxford we just wanted to update

members on where things stand

with OxVox.

As he does in person, Anindya

Bakrie came across very well

and we have been pushing for a

public statement for some time.

The interview is understandably

exciting for many as it states

publicly the club’s intention to

build us a new home and move

us from Grenoble Road. As

mentioned in previous updates we

feel there has never been a better

opportunity to make this happen

and there has been methodical

and diligent work done over the

past few years to make sure we

are in a position to try to move

to the next phase. This however

is also the time to inject a note of

caution into the discussion. We

are a small way into what will be

a long and complicated process

with no guarantee of success and

patience is needed as support

for the project is secured and the

club attempt to build the best

case they can to allow us to move

forward.

This is also a time when OxVox

must fight hard to ensure that

if the project is a success, and

planning is granted, that the

all-important details are not lost

in the excitement. Of course the

design and feel of the stadium are

massively important and we have

already been assured that, where

reasonable, we (and by extension,

members and supporters) will

have input into aspects of the

stadium that will affect supporters.

This however comes after the

far more important task of

making sure any new stadium is

permanently linked to the club

and cannot be separated as we

are now. Moving forward we need

agreements in place to ensure the

long term control of the stadium

remains in the club’s hands. We

respect and trust the intentions

of the board and the incoming

owners but this club has seen

first-hand the results of a fractious

separation of club and stadium.

While we have worked closely

with the club on all aspects of the

resolution of the stadium issue

we also continue to push them

in the strongest terms to not

only communicate directly with

fans but to provide us with the

access we need to ensure that

the future of our club is as bright

and positive as it feels today. If

planning is eventually achieved,

we want to be able to throw our

weight fully behind the project

knowing that it will be our home,

not just the place we play games.

We have put in a lot of hard work

making sure we have a respected

voice within the club but our voice

is only strong because of our

members. You are OxVox and you

hold the power to help move our

club forward. Now more than ever

we need a strong and involved

membership. If you are reading

this and you are not a member,

then for a few pounds you could

be part of that voice. If you know

people who are not members but

take an interest in the club then

please encourage them to join us.

As we grow we continue to keep

fans’ concerns at the top of the

club’s agenda.

And finally...

Thank you as always for your

continued support of OxVox and

the work we do. We welcome all

the messages we have received

over the last few weeks and

months and encourage anyone

with an issue relating to the club

to contact us directly. We look

forward to hearing, and hopefully

meeting, many of you in the

exciting season that lies ahead.

COYY !

Paul Peros

Chairman OxVox

About OxVox

We’re a non profit

making Supporters Trust,

run by fans, for fans,

with membership open

to all Oxford United

supporters everywhere!

We are wholly independent

of Oxford United Football

Club, but always seek positive

dialogue with the Club’s

owners, executive officers and

staff.

We operate on a democratic,

one member, one vote

principle with annual elections

and regular Committee

meetings.

We are committed to the

success of our Football

Club and having proactive

and mutually beneficial

communication with all

stakeholders, including

the local community, local

councils, relevant media, the

Club and other supporters

groups.

To find out more, or join us,

visit www.oxvox.org.uk

2


RESULT – OxVox ‘Andy

James’ Supporter of the Year

The voting has concluded for

the inaugural OxVox ‘Andy

James’ Supporter of the Year

award. Thank you to all those

who nominated supporters and

to everyone who voted.

There was strong support for

all nominees but the winner

was a clear leader in the

votes and is a very deserving

winner. Many will have seen

him selling programmes and

merchandise outside the stadium

at every home game to help the

development of our club which

he has been doing for years and

he was also a long term member

of the OxVox committee.

He has dedicated so much of

his time and energy to the club

and the local community that

he epitomises what this award is

about.

So our warmest congratulations

go to Michael North.

Michael and our other nominees

Mark Lambourne, Ron Slater and

Chris Derry deserve our thanks

for their fabulous support and

we hope to welcome them all

soon at the awards ceremony at

the training ground. We will post

further details of this event in the

coming weeks.

Everywhere we go...

We’re delighted

to welcome Diego

Echeverria, our first

member from Chile.

Welcome, Diego,

we hope to one day

see you at a match

to watch the mighty

Yellows!

Diego writes:

Glad to be the first member from

Chile! I’ve always felt a soft spot

for the club since I became aware

about the 80’s success and

winning the Milk Cup, and have

followed them over the last few

years. I like the fact that the U’s

have non-league roots and were

able to reach the top of English

football. (I was an admirer of Ray

Houghton and John Aldridge

during the 80-90s).

I also took music courses at

Oxford University, and feel a

connection to the city because

one of my favourite music bands

hails from around (Radiohead).

So I finally decided to get

involved with the Trust and

support the club however I can.

Hopefully one day I’ll be able to

see a match when I’m in England,

as before the pandemic I would

travel regularly for business.

3


OUFC Finance Update

As mentioned in the last update, we had a meeting scheduled with the OUFC financial director Tim Davies

and that has now taken place via Zoom. As usual Tim was open and honest and we had a constructive

and informative chat. We firstly spoke about the accounts just published and how they reflected the club’s

progress. Ben from our committee was on the meeting and has 30 years’ experience in accounting with his

work with Oxford University and other major companies and now works on all financial issues we deal with.

He compiled this report on the filed accounts we have been through:

Oxford United Finance Review Financial Statements to 30 June 2020

£000’s OxVox Note Year to 30 June 2020 Year to 30 June 2019 Variance

Turnover 1 6,597 5,757 840

Less Cost of Sales (6,879) (6,721) (158)

Gross Loss (282) (964) 682

Admin expenses 2 (3,080) (3,245) 165

Other Operating Income 3 430 - 430

Operating Loss 4 (2,932) (4,208) 1,276

Profit on disposal of players 5 5,701 674 5,027

Amortisation of players contracts (228) (151) (77)

Payment in respect of player contracts (855) (254) (601)

Profit / (Loss) before Interest 1,687 (3,939) 5,626

Interest payable and similar expenses (203) (317) 114

Profit / (Loss) for the financial year 6 1,484 (4,257) 5,741

OxVox Notes:

1. Turnover for 2020 was up

14.6% on prior year and includes

gate receipts, sponsorship,

advertising, and TV fees.

2. There were 168 employees

in year to 30 June 2020 on

average. The 2019 costs would

have included costs in relation

to taking over and fitting out the

training ground.

4. Oxford United makes

operating losses which needed

to be funded by player sales.

5. The profit on sale of players

includes Baptiste, Fosu and

Whyte. The Dickie sale will be in

year to 30 June 2021.

6. Overall Oxford United made a

profit in the year but only due to

the higher than normal profit on

player sales.

3. Operating income includes

government Covid 19 funding for

employee salaries.

4


Oxford United Summarised Balance Sheet

£000’s OxVox Note As at 30 June 2020 As at 30 June 2019

Fixed assets 1,998 1,605

Debtors & Stock 3,551 620

Cash 405 226

Amounts owed to group undertakings 1 (14,178) (10,911)

Other Creditors under and over 1 year 2 (5,407) (6,653)

Net Assets (13,629) (15,113)

Funded by:

Share Capital 3,577 3,577

Profit & Loss account (17,206) (18,690)

Total Equity 3 (13,629) (15,113)

OxVox notes:

1. No split is provided of the

Group undertakings but it will

be entities controlled by the

shareholders. This is common

now in football clubs with funding

being provided in terms of loans

to the football club. Tim Davies

confirmed that interest is not

payable on these loans.

2. Believe this has gone down

due to settling of liabilities

to the previous owner of the

club and this partially explains

why the amount due to group

undertakings has gone up.

3. The club is technically insolvent

as it has negative reserves. The

accounts have been prepared

though on a going-concern basis

as there is continued financial

support from the ultimate

controlling party.

Other points to note:

The accounts are as at 30 June

2020 so will be substantially

out of date and do not take in

the impact of Covid 19 and the

related reduction in revenue.

Shareholding funding though has

been provided by the owners of

the club in 2020/21 to sustain

the Club during this period and a

£1m grant was received from the

Premier League.

Tim Davies mentioned that a

funding envelope by shareholders is

agreed for a year but then funding

payments are made monthly.

Having discussed the accounts that

have been filed, attention turned

to this season and financial strain

the club had been put under by the

pandemic. Obviously all our major

revenue streams have been affected,

but it was reassuring to hear that

the shareholders had budgeted for

the losses and that they remained

determined to fund the club through

these difficult times. There has also

been careful budgeting for next

season that covers the possibility of

a loss of stadium capacity and sales.

We discussed the issue of where

any extra debt was being allocated

and while this is an area where Tim

did ask for some confidentiality,

it is our understanding that

this debt remains off the club’s

books as shareholder loans and

would only be reclaimed under

circumstances where the club had

been very successful or had been

sold. While this is positive, we

remain determined to increase the

transparency regarding the financial

safety of the club and Tim has

promised to work with us on that

front.

As the discussion turned to next

season and ongoing stability, the

issues of club ownership and the

stadium were raised. We have

recently spoken to numerous

people within and outside the club

to keep on top of what is a very

fluid situation. The single most

important factor in improving our

financial viability (setting aside

promotion to the Championship

or Premier league) remains the

stadium. It is clear that discussions

have taken place regarding some

of the shareholders taking a larger/

controlling stake in the club. It also

seems clear that as our promotion

campaign is decided we should get

a better idea of what will happen.

The question of the stadium

situation remains a difficult one

where confidentiality is paramount,

but it would seem reasonable to

assume that the finalising of any

takeover, one way or another, will

allow the owners and shareholders

to progress with more clarity. Do

the potential new owners favour a

new stadium? Again there is history

of them having achieved this at

another club, but developing on

this scale in Oxford is a huge task.

We continue to work closely with

the club on this and all possible

solutions until the problem is

solved. Any of the potential

solutions could benefit the club and

put us in a much stronger, more

sustainable position but all have

inherent dangers and all require

proper scrutiny from OxVox and

from all supporters.

Continued overleaf...

5


...continued

While we understand the

frustration among supporters

and desire to know more details,

we again ask for patience on this

front. We have been working hard

with the club and fully respect the

need for discretion at this time.

Our conversation with Tim ended

with him asking us where we

thought the club could improve.

We are constant in our position

that better communication

with the supporters is a must,

and we mentioned that the

vacuum created when the club

does not comment, tends to

be filled with speculation and

guesswork. It should be possible

for the club to communicate

a clear and measured path to

this problem without letting

anything confidential out. On the

communication front we have

again been assured of greater

access to the other shareholders

should they increase their stake

and become owners.

Thank you as always for taking

the time to read this update and

thank you for your support of

OxVox. The value of supporters’

trusts was highlighted during

the ESL attempt by the ‘big six’.

The speed and unity their trusts

showed in response was very

powerful and shows the strength

that supporters have. It goes

without saying that we opposed

the move in the strongest terms

and while the work we put in to

register that opposition has been

made somewhat redundant, we

are turning our efforts towards

the ongoing conversation on

reform within the game. We

will keep you updated on our

progress.

COYY !

Paul Peros

Chairman OxVox

This Financial Update was

originally sent to members

in May 2021.

MP Responses

During last season we wrote to local MPs to gauge their thoughts on

support for English Football League clubs through the coronavirus

pandemic, and published the letter in the last newsletter. Below are

their replies.

Anneliese Dodds,

Oxford East

Dear Trevor,

I’m extremely sorry for the delay

in getting back to your important

questions about pilots and finances.

I was wanting to speak directly with

Alison McGovern (our shadow sports

minister) who has been lobbying

Government on this but haven’t

managed to get hold of her. In order

to avoid the best being the enemy

of the good I hope that I can at least

shine a little light on what’s been

happening over the last few days,

and hopefully will then be able to get

back to you with more information

as soon as I can.

I’m very concerned about the lack

of a clear road-map for when the

fan pilot-events can actually resume.

There have been suggestions that

this will take place but there’s no

clear timetable. Alison raised this

yesterday with Nigel Huddleston but

he didn’t give a road map which was

annoying. The full debate is here-

tinyurl.com/25vdtwyc

While Huddleston said ‘we want

to get back to the plan as soon

as we can’, there wasn’t anything

concrete there. I understand from

Alison’s office that we’ll (rightly)

keep pushing them on this because

the lack of certainty is making it

even harder for clubs. Even if it was

a contingent commitment ie ‘once R

is under 1’ that would be helpful. Or

indeed if there is no plan to progress

this before the end of the lockdown

on the 2nd December that would

also be helpful to know, to the extent

that at least it would provide that

certainty, albeit I accept would not

be what many would want to see.

Re the financial situation, I’m very

concerned about the lack of clarity

around a rescue package. There are

apparently talks going on between

the Treasury and the Department

of Culture, Media and Sport around

some kind of a rescue package for

sport more generally, however I have

been trying to find out whether

this would be covering clubs like

Utd and haven’t been able to get

confirmation of the scope that’s

being discussed. We understand that

the Government expects the Premier

League and EFL to reach a deal

around a rescue package based on

the Government’s position vs bailing

out elite football. I can understand

the latter but obviously this should

not compromise help being provided

to non-prem clubs like Utd which

obviously do a huge amount in the

community and are not in any way

in the same situation. It is essential

that all of football is not put into

the same basket here given highly

differential financial positions both

currently and for the future in terms

of both liabilities and ability to raise

future revenue.

As mentioned I’m sorry I’ve not

managed to directly speak to Alison

about this but hopefully it provides

a little more up-to-date information

about the situation.

All the best,

Anneliese

John Howell, Henley

Dear Simon,

Thank you for your email regarding

support for EFL clubs, as we

continue to navigate our way

through the coronavirus pandemic.

I appreciate that the decision to

delay the return of fans to football

matches was a disappointing

development, particularly to

supporters who go to watch their

clubs week in week out. However,

the Government has had to remain

flexible in its approach to mitigate

the spread of coronavirus, and when

cases start to rapidly increase - as

they did several weeks ago - it is

important that the Government acts

accordingly and strengthens our

virus prevention measures. Whilst

I am aware that a number of clubs

have insisted that they can host fans

in a way which complies with public

health guidelines, I understand that

wider concerns regarding travel

to and from stadiums remains a

problematic scenario. Particularly

in relation to Premier League clubs,

fans travel from all over the country

to watch their team and although

clubs may give assurances that

their stadium protocols are ‘Covidsafe’,

there is still the possibility

for coronavirus to spread between

supporters as they travel on public

transport to the stadium.

In terms of financing, I agree that

EFL clubs who are more dependent

on ticket sales to operate financially

6


deserve support to ensure they

stay afloat during these challenging

times. The Culture Secretary has

been in dialogue with the Premier

League, which is having constructive

discussions with the English Football

League about providing support. As

I’m sure you appreciate, the top level

of English football is awash with cash

and the economic disparity between

Premier League clubs who compete

for Champions League places and

teams in lower divisions has never

been more stark. Frankly, I think now

is the time for these Premier League

teams to step up and ensure that

those with the broadest shoulders

support those who find themselves

at risk of collapse. Football has

changed immeasurably since the

inception of the Premier League in

1992. Foreign billionaire owners, the

emergence of ‘super-agents’ and

multi-million pound television rights

deals have arguably contributed to

the corruption of top-tier football in

this country. In this context, I think

it would be wholly unacceptable

for the Premier League to leave it

to the Government – and ultimately

the taxpayer – to bail out struggling

clubs lower down the footballing

pyramid. I will be keeping an eye

on this issue, but I am hopeful the

Premier League will come to a

sensible conclusion.

Thanks again for contacting me.

John

Layla Moran, Oxford

West and Abingdon

Dear Ben,

Thank you for this, that’s really

helpful.

I have had a number of constituents

write and tell me of their concerns

for the future of English Football

League Clubs, and to highlight their

concerns over future financing and

the long term plan for enabling

supporters back into stadia.

You may have seen that the

following question was raised in

Parliament “To ask the Secretary of

State for Digital, Culture, Media and

Sport, if he will allocate adequate

financial support to ensure that no

professional sports club goes out

of business during the covid-19

outbreak?”

The answer was given by Nigel

Huddleston MP on 22 nd October

who stated that “the Government

recognises the impact that Covid-19

is having on the sporting sector, and

has supported elite sports to return

to "behind closed doors"

competition, which enabled vital

broadcast revenue, retained

competitive integrity and brought

joy to millions of sports fans.

The government also ensured Project

Restart was shared with everyone by

getting Premier League football on

the BBC for the first time ever.

We have been clear that we expect

those in sport with the broadest

shoulders - where they can at the

top tiers - to support itself. The

Government is focusing its support

on those in the sector most in need

as a result of the decision not to

readmit spectators to stadia from 1

October.

The safety and security of players

and spectators remains of

paramount importance.

The government recognises that

fans will be disappointed that sports

pilot events were paused and that

spectators were not able to be

admitted to stadia from 1 October.

The Secretary of State for Digital,

Culture, Media and Sport is working

with the Chancellor of the Exchequer

on what can be done to provide

further support. The Department

will also continue to work with

colleagues across Whitehall to

support the sector.”

However, this still does not give

organisations such as yours, the

ability to plan with any degree of

certainty nor does it clarify the

basis upon which supporters will

be allowed back into stadia, or a

timetable for pilots to restart.

On your behalf I have written to the

Minister at the Department of Digital,

Culture, Media and Sport to ask

for clarification on their plans and

associated timescales for the return

of supporters into sports stadia.

As soon as I have a reply I will

contact you again with their

response.

Best wishes

Layla Moran

Robert Courts, Witney

& West Oxfordshire

Dear Ian,

Thank you for contacting me about

football during and after coronavims.

I was very pleased to see the return

of competitive football in August

and that the new season started in

September across all the leagues.

The Government approved the FA’ s

outdoor grassroots football plan, so

the following football activity is also

permitted:

• playing football individually

(individual skills or fitness activities);

• playing football with your family

or other people living in your

household; .

• playing football in groups of up to

six people from different households,

provided social distancing is

maintained

If you are a coach you can now work

with clients outdoors, providing

you are meeting no more than 5

other people from outside of your

household, outdoors, and you follow

social distancing guidelines.

Additionally, maintaining a grass or

artificial football pitch is permitted,

as long as social distancing and

appropriate hygiene practices are

adopted.

All social distancing guidelines must

be followed. The guidance published

by Government on the return to

team sports can be found here:

https ://www.gov.uk/ government/

publications/ coronavims-covid-

19-guidance:on-phasedreturn-

of-sport-and-recreation/retum-to-

recreational-team-sport-framework

Competitive football relies on

dubs and facility providers to have

completed the necessary

risk assessments and made

comprehensive plans. Clubs should

follow the guidance published

by the FA about how to ensure

matches can take place in a safe

way, which can be found here:

http://www. thefa.corn/news/2020/j

ul/ I 7 /grassroots-guidance-forcompetitive-

footballrestart-inengland-l70720

Although I had hoped it would be

possible for fans to return to sports

games from 1 October, the Prime

Minister has announced that these

plans have been put off owing to

the rising number of CoronaVirus

cases. He noted that he appreciates

the implications for sports clubs,

which are the life and soul of our

communities, and Ministers are

urgently considering how they can

be supported.

I can absolutely assure you that

discussions between Ministers and

the sector are ongoing and the

Government remains open to any

and all proposals. The Government

and I recognise the difficulties that

EFL teams in particular are facing

and I will be sure to keep your

comments in mind moving forward.

The Government especially

appreciates the immediate pressure

National League clubs are under in

respect of re-starting their season.

I am very pleased that agreement

has been reached to allow them

to receive £10 million of National

Lottery funding. This will benefit

the 66 clubs in the fifth and six tiers

of English football, so that they

can continue to play behind closed

doors. All clubs are playing football

this season as a result. Thank you for

taking the time to contact me.

Robert Courts

7


Life Members’

Reward Scheme

OxVox are delighted to welcome all life members

of the Trust to the OxVox reward scheme.

We have teamed up with some

local businesses who have links

with OUFC to offer you some

exciting discounts. We hope that

you can take advantage of some

great offers and at the same time

support some great local firms.

New partners will be added over

the coming weeks and months.

Please present your reward card

when taking up the offers.

If you are a life

member and have

not yet received your

reward card please email

rewards@oxvox.org.uk and we

will post it to you.

If you wish to upgrade to life

membership please do so via the

‘RENEW’ page on this website.

As the scheme takes off we

would like to invite you, our

LIFE

MEMBERSHIP

REWARD

CARD

Here are the details of our current partners:

OX VOX

THE OXFORD UNITED

SUPPORTERS’ TRUST

members, to add your

businesses to the scheme,

to help provide a wide range

of offers. If this is something

you are interested in please

contact Maurice Earp via

rewards@oxvox.org.uk

CAIRA Properties and Facilities

Solutions (Abingdon)

cairaproperty.co.uk

Buildbase. Watlington Road,

Cowley

buildbase.co.uk

fit2run (Abingdon’s specialist

running store)

fit2rundirect.com

Manor Flooring (Wootton,

Abingdon)

manorflooring.co.uk

Topsport Independent Sports

Retailer (Abingdon)

topsportuk.com

Massage – Kendra Kirkham

wellbeingclinic.com

J. Priest & Son (Oxford)

oxfordsms.co.uk

Kay Gee’s Off Licence

kaygees.co.uk

For details of the benefits and discounts on off from our partners visit: www.oxvox.org.uk/reward-scheme/

As the scheme takes off we would like to invite you, our members, to add your businesses to the scheme,

to help provide a wide range of offers. If you are interested in please contact us via rewards@oxvox.org.uk

Join the trust

The Trust that makes a

difference and we’d love you be

part of it.

So don’t delay, join today!

Juniors

£5 for 3 years

Adults

£10 for 3 years

Senior £7.50 for 3 years

Life £50

Senior Life £25

Corporate options also available.

www.oxvox.org.uk

enquiries@oxvox.org.uk

VOX • Issue 2 • Nov 2021

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