CAS Trust in conjunction with the Fan's Forum wrote to CAFC today suggesting a solution to communication issues that arose around last Saturdays postponement against Barnsley
Earlier this week CAS Trust posted concerns on or website. A follow up letter in conjunction with the Fan's Forum was 'signed' on behalf of the Forum by John Commerford, East Kent Addicks Chair, and went as follows:
Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust and Fans Forum
Joint Proposal regarding match postponements at the Valley
“Focus on the Fans”
- 1. Background
The Supporters’ Trust and the Fans Forum are very aware of the strength of feeling among fans after the postponement of the Barnsley game. We are aware too that the Club was extremely disappointed by the referee’s decision. We are not in a position to suggest how the condition of the pitch can be improved, nor how the match referees perform their duties. However we do assume that the pitch will be extremely vulnerable to postponements for the rest of the season ; so we propose a communication plan which, if implemented, would help fans make contingency plans, and reduce the negative impact of late postponements
2. “Focus on the Fans”
While we understand that late postponements cannot be eliminated because of the way match referees work, we believe it is important for the club - fan relationship to demonstrate an understanding that even home fans travel a long distance at considerable expense. Stories abound on social media of Charlton fans travelling almost as long distances as the visiting fans, and being out of pocket by £100 per person. Our proposal is that the club could adopt a 3-step communication warning system
- 3. The 3-step communication plan
Please read this as our ideal plan from the fans’ viewpoint. We recognise that it may not always be feasible. But the closer we can get to it, the more likely fans will agree that the Club has done everything possible to keep them informed
Step 1. The pitch would be assessed for playability 24 hours before kickoff, with the help of a locally based referee. If the assessment is of a 50% or more chance of postponement, fans will be informed using all relevant media.
Step 2. A further inspection would take place ideally at 09.00 next day (08.00 if the visiting fans have a journey of more than 4 hours); again, fans will be informed using all relevant media.
Step 3. If the match ref has not carried out the 09.00 inspection, and the risk is still assessed at more than 50%, he would be asked to inspect and decide asap. His decision would be communicated by Twitter immediately, followed by all other relevant media as soon as possible.
We do present this plan as an ideal one. We accept that we do not know how practical it is, particularly in respect of the co-operation of the matchday referee. The key principle we advocate is of a systematic and progressive flow of information to the fans. If the fans know this system - or something close to it - is in place, they will be far more forgiving of the Club if a match day referee takes what the Club believes to be a draconian decision.
We hope the Club will view this as a constructive proposal, and we look forward to your response at your earliest convenience.
Barnie Razzell (Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust)
John Commerford (on behalf of Charlton Athletic Fans’ Forum)