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Club charter and equality policy

AFC Wimbledon is a club collectively created, owned and run by its fans.

In everything we do, we strive to provide the very best football club we can possibly be – for our supporters, our visitors and our community. And, as a fans-owned club, everything we do is for fans, and much of it is done by fans.

As football fans ourselves we extend a warm welcome to all visitors and away fans, in the expectation of a reciprocal welcome when we visit other clubs. Opposition fans may sit or stand in a different part of the stadium, hoping for a different result on a matchday, but AFC Wimbledon recognises the commitment of all fans in the growth and success of their respective clubs. We are proud to work with other clubs and their fan bases, united in common goals for the good of the game as a whole.

CLUB OBJECTIVES FOR SEASON 2018/19

To build on our success in reaching League One of the English Football League while maintaining our prudent approach to operating the club.To make substantial progress in the planning and construction of our new stadium.To provide facilities and other assistance as necessary to support the AFC Wimbledon Foundation in increasing the range and extent of the community work it carries out.To continue to make improvements to the matchday experience of all fans visiting our stadium and be awarded the Family Excellence Award for the third successive season.

CUSTOMER SERVICES

The Club Secretary and Operations Director, David Charles, is the club's principal customer services contact. He is also the club's Supporter Liaison Officer. His role is not only to act as a point of contact for supporters, but also to deliver the club's policy with regard to its stakeholders in so far as that policy concerns supporters, and to liaise with the Club's management with regard to supporter issues.

He can generally be contacted on Monday to Friday between 9.30 am and 5.00 pm at:

AFC Wimbledon

The Cherry Red Records Stadium

Jack Goodchild Way

422a Kingston Road

Kingston upon Thames

Surrey

KT1 3PB

Email: secretary@afcwimbledon.co.uk

Tel: 020 8547 3528

We welcome feedback on all aspects of what we do. Comments can be made by phoning the above number during normal weekday office hours, by writing to the club at the above address, by email to info@afcwimbledon.co.uk  or by completing the contact box on the club's official website.

If you wish to make a formal complaint about any issue, then it must be by post or by email; we will acknowledge your complaint within five working days, by the same means as you contact us unless you ask us to do otherwise.

That acknowledgement will tell you what we will do next, and may ask for further information to help us get to the bottom of things as quickly as possible. We will endeavour to respond to complaints in full within 10 working days of the acknowledgement (i.e. within 15 days of your initial contact); if there are reasons why this timescale cannot be met, such as staff absence, we will inform you of a revised timescale. In all cases, we will send you a formal response within 20 working days of the initial contact.

Any complaint received will be recorded in a register held by the club and, if required, will be forwarded to the relevant football authority together with a report of the investigation into the complaint.

It is hoped and expected that any complaints received by the club about customer service can be resolved to the complainant's satisfaction – and the club will make every effort to do so. However, if this is not possible, supporters can now refer the matter directly to the Independent Football Ombudsman:

The Independent Football Ombudsman

Suite 49

33 Great George Street

Leeds

LS1 3AJ

Email: contact@theifo.co.net

Tel: 0800 588 4066

As a club, we would also be happy for any such matter to be referred to the Football Supporters' Federation and/or Supporters Direct, but only with the complainant's permission.

STAFF CONDUCT

All staff, both employees and volunteers will endeavour to be courteous and helpful to supporters and customers at all times, offering them the best service and information available at the given time.

Our club is built on, and depends on, the support of hundreds of volunteers, all of whom are fans, who give freely of their time to help the club. This is central to our club ethos, and we know that our supporters take great pride and enjoyment from supporting such a uniquely run club.

We endeavour to ensure that these volunteers represent the club and help their fellow fans as professionally as possible, but we ask all our supporters and visitors to respect their commitment and to understand that, at any given time, despite our best efforts, not every volunteer will have the answer to every query.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

We respect and value the diversity that exists in our communities and are committed to challenging attitudes that promote discrimination.

The club is an equal opportunities employer and has a staff equal opportunities policy: in pursuit of our aims and objectives, we will not discriminate against, or in any way treat less favourably, any person on the grounds of age, race, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy & maternity, sexual orientation, marriage & civil partnership, sex (gender), or religion or belief.

In particular we will:

  • promote an inclusive culture for our staff, others who work with us and the fans we serve
  • provide services that are accessible and appropriate for everyone
  • provide organisational capability for continuous improvement, learning and sharing good practice
  • work towards the elimination of all forms of discrimination and harassment
  • positively promote equality through our activity and communications.

The club will not tolerate any discriminatory behaviour, whether physical or verbal, by its own employees, volunteers or fans, or by visitors, in the vicinity of the stadium. Whenever such behaviour is brought to the club's attention, the club will act robustly in taking appropriate disciplinary action.

SAFEGUARDING

All children and vulnerable adults are valued guests of the club, and the club takes its responsibilities to them seriously.

We carry out all the necessary checks to ensure that all club staff and volunteers involved in work with young people have been approved for that work, and selected for that work following a rigorous interview in which their competence for their role will need to have been demonstrated.

SUPPORTER CONTROL AND CONSULTATION

The club's majority shareholder is the Dons Trust, an Industrial and Provident Society registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. The Trust's position as the owner of the club – and thus the role of our fans as owners – is safeguarded in the Trust's constitution.

As a result, all significant decisions about the future of the club – the club's name, the new stadium and the Trust's ownership role – must be agreed by members of the Trust.

Trust members elect the Dons Trust board, which is responsible for agreeing the strategic direction of the club and the Trust as well as monitoring the implementation of that strategy by the club.

The views of the fans are collected in several ways:

  • by holding at least three special general meetings of the Trust each year to consider matters of interest to the members and to obtain their feedback on relevant issues, such as the proposed new stadium
  • by the use of working parties and other ad hoc exercises
  • by the use of fans' forums
  • by informal conversations – Football Club Directors are available and visible on match days for fans to offer their views and the Dons Trust now has a kiosk which fans can visit to discuss issues with Dons Trust board members.

In addition to the above, the club communicates with fans on match days via its matchday programme and PA announcements, and also through the official website, Twitter and other media channels.

TICKETING

We hope that the club's detailed ticketing policy, set out on the ticketing section of the official website, will answer the great majority of queries relating to season tickets.

The club has introduced various ways to make it easier for supporters to pay for season tickets, including by monthly direct debit.

For matches which are arranged at short notice or are all-ticket, the club will publicise the arrangements for buying tickets in the 'News' section of the official website.

Tickets sold in advance, for example by online sales, will be mailed to fans up until about four days before the game. After that time, they will be held for collection on the day of the game at the complimentary tickets window. Tickets are mailed at the recipient's risk, unless Special Delivery is requested, in which case a small additional fee will be charged.

Entitlement to tickets for home FA Cup, League Cup, EFL Trophy and play-off games

Season ticket holders will be allocated, on application, one ticket only for each game, at the price advertised, provided such application is received in accordance with advertised instructions published on the official website, in the matchday programme and/or in the local press.

Where possible, season ticket holders in the Paul Strank stand and John Green stand will be allocated their usual seat for FA Cup games and play-off games, but this will not normally be done for League Cup and EFL Trophy games, for which seats may be sold on an unallocated basis, unless significant demand is expected (e.g. drawing a Premier League team in the League Cup).

When we are asked to sell tickets for an away game, season ticket holders will be given preference on applications at the rate of one per season ticket where possible, but no guarantee of allocation can be given owing to the fact that the number of applications from season ticket holders may exceed the number of tickets issued to us by the home team.

The club reserves the right to set aside some tickets for volunteers and players. When we are selling tickets to a restricted access away game, full details will be published on the official website, in the matchday programme and/or in the local press. When an FA Cup, League Cup or play-off game is played at a neutral ground, tickets may be sold by the organising competition and we may not be able to guarantee a ticket for such games.

Refunds on season tickets

Refunds on season tickets will not normally be made. Refunds on tickets for specific matches will be at the discretion of the club.

Before every league game, season ticket holders will be invited to inform the club that they won't be attending to so that their seat or terrace ticket may be resold. Fans are requested to make these returns as a donation to the club, but they may, if they wish, request a refund of an appropriate proportion of their season ticket. This request may be granted by the club if the ticket appears likely to be resold.

Away fans

The club abides by the English Football League and Football Association regulations governing the allocation and pricing of tickets to visiting clubs.

The club will not charge admission prices to supporters of a visiting club which are higher than those charged to our own supporters for comparable accommodation. The concessionary rates which are offered to our own supporters who are over 65, students or under 18 also apply to supporters of a visiting club. We reserve the right to charge normal adult matchday admission prices in the absence of proof of qualifying for a concessionary rate.

Disabled fans

There are four areas in the stadium set aside for disabled fans, including wheelchair users. Disabled fans pay the normal ticket price for the area of the ground where they will be accommodated, depending on their age. A personal assistant accompanying a disabled fan will be admitted to the stadium free of charge. Further information on disabled access may be obtained from the club office.

Policy on abandoned games

In the event that a game is abandoned before half-time, paying spectators will be entitled to either entry to the rearranged game at no expense or a full refund. If a game is abandoned after half-time there will be no recompense.

OUR STADIUM

The stadium is covered by legislation governing sports grounds and is licensed under the Football Spectators Act 1989. The award of this licence demonstrates that fans can have confidence that they can attend matches at the stadium in safety. In addition, the club is bound by the national ground regulations promoted by the English Football League, which are displayed at entry points to the stadium.

As well as adhering to the statutory and compulsory guidelines, we take pride in operating a safe, clean and pleasant facility, run by volunteers and employees, in order to provide a great place to watch football.

We will act robustly to protect those employees and volunteers from any harassment they may suffer, and to protect the good name of the club from any behaviour by our supporters or by visitors which contravenes the generally accepted standards for a modern football environment, particularly with regard to discriminatory or hate speech.

If the club becomes aware of any person having been convicted of or involved directly in a football related offence, whether at the club's ground or elsewhere, or having been in serious breach of any club's ground regulations, they will be excluded indefinitely from attending any club matches until such time as they can demonstrate that their behaviour has improved sufficiently for re-admission to be considered. Any such person has the right to ask to appear before a selected Disciplinary and Complaints Panel in order to put forward their case for re-admission. If they appear before the panel and do not agree with the decision, they can appeal to the club's Chief Executive.

Full details of the procedure can be requested from the Club Secretary.

We seek to be as good a neighbour as we can, so we urge all our fans and visitors to respect those who live and work near the stadium, and to remember that – especially on matchdays – our fans are ambassadors of the club, and all fans, home and away, are ambassadors for our sport.

OUR MERCHANDISE

The club shop is open on Saturday match days from 12.15 pm until 2.45 pm and after the match until 5.30 pm. On midweek matchdays it is open from 6.00 pm until 7.30 pm. The shop may also open on other occasions and, if so, the opening times will be advertised on the official website and in the matchday programme.

We also have an online store accessible through the official website.

The club changes both its home and away kits every other year, and its third kit is changed in the intervening year, subject to the kit suppliers and shirt sponsors remaining unchanged.

The launch date of new kit to be sold in the club shop will be advertised in the shop, on the official website and in the matchday programme. Shop staff will personally inform customers of the launch date, especially when it is imminent.

Any customer who is unhappy with any item purchased from the club shop can return that item and will receive a full refund on production of a receipt, provided the item is returned within 28 days of purchase. In accordance with our legal obligations, we offer refunds on items of clothing only if they are returned unsoiled.

All feedback or complaints about the club shop or club merchandise should be submitted according to the procedure set out in the earlier section 'Customer Services'.

DATA PROTECTION

The following paragraphs describe how the club collects, processes, uses and retains personal data to meet the club's data protection standards, and to comply with the law.

Why this policy exists

This data protection policy ensures that AFC Wimbledon:

  • complies with data protection law and follows good practice
  • protects the rights of fans, staff and customers
  • is open about how it stores and processes individuals' data
  • protects itself from the risks of a data breach.

Data protection law

The Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) determine how the club must collect, use and store personal information. These rules apply to data stored electronically, on paper or by any other means. To comply with the law, personal information must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed unlawfully.

The legislation is underpinned by the following principles.

Personal data must be:

  • processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
  • given freely, specific and unambiguous to the wishes of the individual
  • collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed for other reasons (archiving of data for historical or statistical reasons is permitted)
  • adequate, relevant and limited for the purposes of processing
  • accurate and kept up to date – errors must be erased or rectified
  • kept in a form which permits identification for no longer than is necessary for processing data
  • processed in a manner that ensures an appropriate level of security.

People, risks and responsibilities

This policy applies to:

  • all systems and offices of AFC Wimbledon
  • all staff and volunteers at AFC Wimbledon
  • all contractors, suppliers and other people working on behalf of AFC Wimbledon.

It applies to all data that the club holds relating to identifiable individuals. This includes:

  • names
  • postal addresses
  • email addresses
  • telephone numbers
  • any other information, e.g. date of birth or gender.

Data protection risks

This policy helps to protect AFC Wimbledon from data security risks, including:

  • breaches of confidentiality (e.g. information being given out inappropriately)
  • failing to offer choice (e.g. all individuals should be free to choose how the club uses data relating to them)
  • reputational damage (e.g. the club could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to personal data).

Responsibilities

Everyone who works for, or with, AFC Wimbledon has responsibility for ensuring that data is collected, stored and handled appropriately.

Each area of the club that handles personal data must ensure that such data is handled and processed in line with this policy.

Should anyone wish to have their details removed from the club's records or not to have their contact details passed on to partner organisations, we will see that their preferences are carried out immediately upon receiving instructions.

Subject access requests

All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by AFC Wimbledon are entitled to be:

  • told whether any personal data is being processed
  • given a description of the personal data, why it is being processed, and whether it will be given to any other organisations or people in accordance with the individual's consent
  • given a copy of the data held
  • informed about how to keep the data up to date
  • given details of the source of the data (if possible)informed how the club is meeting its data protection obligations.

If an individual contacts the club requesting details of personal data the club holds on them, this is termed a subject access request.

Subject access requests from individuals should be made by email to dataprotection@afcwimbledon.ltd.uk . The club will supply a standard request form, although individuals do not have to use this. The club will aim to provide the relevant data within 21 days. The club will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information.

Disclosing data for other reasons

In certain circumstances, the data protection legislation allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the individual in question.

Under these circumstances, AFC Wimbledon will disclose requested data, but will first ensure that the request is legitimate, seeking advice from the club's legal advisers where necessary.

Providing information

AFC Wimbledon aims to ensure that individuals are aware that their data is being processed, and that they understand how their data is being used and how to exercise their rights.

To these ends, the club has a privacy statement setting out how data relating to individuals is used by the club. This is available on request from the Data Protection Officer by e mailing dataprotection@afcwimbledon.ltd.uk .

PARKING

Parking is available at no cost on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserved parking spaces for officials and players are clearly marked.

32 parking spaces are available for disabled fans. The spaces can be used by home or away fans with a blue badge or by home fans who have been issued with one of our own badges. While these spaces are reserved for disabled badge holders, the number of would-be users exceeds the number of spaces, so we encourage early arrival.

Free parking is available in nearby streets. Fans are urged to park responsibly and with consideration for local residents.

A limited number of spaces in bicycle racks are also available.

CATERING FACILITIES AND HOSPITALITY

On match days, a number of food outlets both inside and outside the ground sell a variety of hot and cold food and drinks.

There is also a hospitality area, seating 100 people, offering pre-match three-course meals. Fans who wish to reserve a place should contact commercial@afcwimbledon.co.uk .

The stadium has two large bars which open on Saturday match days from noon and from 5.00 pm on midweek evening games. Away fans will sometimes be admitted to these bars; if so, this will be announced on the official website before the match takes place and communicated to the visiting club.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

The club's various community activities are conducted via a charity, the AFC Wimbledon Foundation.

The Foundation carries out activities in the following areas:

  • social inclusion
  • sports participation
  • health
  • education.

Of particular interest to many fans are the courses that give children between the ages of 4 and 16 the opportunity to play football in a safe learning environment. These courses are ideal for young players to develop their confidence and talent under the guidance of experienced FA qualified coaches in sessions that ensure maximum levels of involvement and enjoyment. Players who show potential may be invited to attend the Foundations' Advanced Coaching Programme, while players of outstanding ability could be invited to train with the club's youth teams.

EQUALITY POLICY

The aim of this policy is to ensure that everyone is treated fairly, and with respect, and that AFC Wimbledon is equally accessible to all.

AFC Wimbledon is responsible for setting standards and values that apply throughout the club at every level. Football belongs to, and should be enjoyed by, anyone who wants to participate in it.

Our commitment is to confront and eliminate discrimination whether it by reason of age, race, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy & maternity, sexual orientation, marriage & civil partnership, sex (gender) and religion & belief.

The policy is fully supported by the club officers who are responsible for the implementation of the policy.

AFC Wimbledon, in all its activities will ensure it treats people fairly and with respect and it will provide access and opportunities for all members of the community to take part in and enjoy its activities.

AFC Wimbledon will not tolerate harassment, bullying, abuse or victimisation of an individual, which for the purposes of this policy and the actions and sanction applicable is regarded as discrimination. This includes sexual or racially based harassment or other discriminatory behaviour, whether physical or verbal. AFC Wimbledon will work to ensure that such behaviour is met with appropriate action in whatever context it occurs.

AFC Wimbledon is committed to take positive action where inequalities exist, and to the development of a programme of on-going training and awareness – raising events and activities in order to promote the eradication of discrimination and promote equality in football.

AFC Wimbledon is committed to a policy of equal treatment of all members and requires all members to abide and adhere to the policies and requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and the Protected Characteristics as well as any new amendments to the acts and any new legislation.

AFC Wimbledon commits itself to the immediate investigation of any claims, when it is brought to its attention, of discrimination on the above grounds and where such is found to be the case, a requirement that the practice stop and sanction imposed as appropriate.

Equality Policy Complaints Procedure

In the event that anyone feels that they have suffered discrimination in any way, or that the club Policies, Rules or Code of conduct have not been followed, they should report the matter to the Club Secretary or another member of the Football Club Board.

The report should include:

  • details of the incident, including when and where it took place
  • any witness statement and names of other people involved
  • names of any others who have been treated in a similar way
  • details of any former complaints made about the incident, and when and to whom they were made
  • a preference for a solution to the incident
  • any request for a hearing

The club's Board will sit for any hearings that are requested and amongst other sanctions will have the power to:

  • warn a transgressor as to their future conduct
  • suspend a transgressor from the club
  • issue a club ban. If the complaint is with regard to a member of the Football Club Board, the complainant has the right to report the matter direct to the Dons Trust Board after giving notice of their intention to do so.

This Policy has been approved and authorised by the AFC Wimbledon Board of Directors.