CHELSEA DISABLED SUPPORTERS ASSOCIATION (CDSA)
2nd MEETING MINUTES, 2017-18 SEASON
1905 Club, Stamford Bridge Stadium
Wednesday 15th November 2017, 4.15pm
Attendees Group represented/ role
Berry, Richard CFC Legal
Carey, Steven Ambulant season ticket (“ST”) holder
Collins, Eamon CFC Disability Liaison and Supporters Club Supervisor
Cornwall-Jones, Linsay Non-ambulant Rota supporter member
Flatau, Bob Assistant Facilities Manager and Disabled Officer
Hayden, Lisa Non-ambulant ST holder
Hayes, Tim Non-ambulant match supporter member
Morse, Barry Ambulant Rota supporter member
Owen, David Access Consultant
Piggott, Diane CFC Disabled Liaison Officer and Supporters’ Clubs Manager
Powell, Mick Ambulant match supporter member
Regan, Andy Forum Chairman
Smith, Graham CFC Head of Ticketing and Head of Supporters’ Liaison
Law, Matthew Honorary committee member
The Chairman welcomed new committee members and all introduced themselves.
MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The Chairman commented that minutes haven’t yet been approved by the Club but we can still follow up action points.
West Stand view for wheelchairs
The Club said the issue has been addressed in the briefing notes for stewards on a match day.
The Club has raised the issue with Leicester FC and it is being addressed. The Club will check that the matter has been resolved when we next play there.
A representative mentioned that the disabled supporters’ helpline is excellent but Rota supporter members don’t appear to be able to purchase additional matches and the wording about priority access could be misleading. The Club will review the form for next season to ensure clarity and confirmed that supporters can move categories to buy tickets for other matches.
In response to a question, the Club confirmed it only uses loyalty points from the previous season if we play a big game early in the season. For the last few seasons we have had big matches early on. The Club will review notification of points levels.
The supporters requested no further changes to the ticketing policy for 2018/19.
WHEELCHAIR FOUNDATION PROVISION
A representative raised the issue that wheelchairs seemed to be provided by the Spurs Foundation for other charities but on further research this isn’t the case. Spurs apparently provide wheelchairs for those who have mobility problems getting to their seats at Wembley.
The Club commented that we are looking at many stadia as possibilities. We have an allocation of signed items that can be auctioned so we can help charities raise money in that way. Decisions are made on merit for each request and requests need to be on headed paper with the charity number quoted.
PREMIER LEAGUE ADVISORY GROUP FOR DSA CHAIRMEN
Matthew informed the Forum that he has been approached by the FAPL to join a new advisory group for DSA chairmen which has the following remit:
“To offer practical, common sense guidance, suggestions and opinion with regard to the topics set out below:
- To raise any relevant matters and advise on issues relating to access and inclusion for disabled fans and supporters.
- Identifying best practice with regard to implementation of the requirements of the Accessible Stadia Guidelines.
- Evaluate and input to relevant Premier League Handbook changes in the future.
- To consider drafts of new or amended relevant guidance or legislation for comment and advice.
- Consider appropriate responses to observations from external bodies – e.g. Equality and Human Rights Commission, Media commentaries, Level Playing Fields etc.
- Receive, consider and respond to any other reports, documents and information as requested by the Premier League from time to time.”
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
The Club reported that it’s spoken to the company it uses in order to check whether we are being provided with the vehicle we were shown originally. It transpires that the vehicle we use is one year older than the one we had been shown and is otherwise identical so will still be hired. The vehicle is fully compliant. The quality of the drivers has also been raised with the company. The vehicle has a limit of 50mph as opposed to the coach’s higher speed limit. The access vehicle can leave earlier though if arrival at a ground is a cause for concern.
A representative commented that a Club steward on the vehicle appeared to make a comment that was dismissive of travelling fans. Steward numbers and behaviour will be reviewed.
The Club commented that the building regulations are well in hand and sanitary provisions are starting to go in. The facility should open in December and the sensory room should also be completed by the end of the year, which has its own ambulant toilet as part of the complex.
The Club is continuing to arrange the Mobiloo and signage for this is an important aspect. The East Stand will have clear signage to assist. Interior colours will be pale green as the alternative was pale blue which is not our colour! Royal blue would be too dark for the facility. There will be large logos pointing the way and it will be easy to find. The Club is finalising stewarding for it too. The Club will circulate photos when the facility is ready.
One representative commented on how good the communication is between disabled fans and the Club.
A representative mentioned that one photographer at the front of the West Stand was intentionally being awkward at a recent match but a steward stepped in to resolve the matter. Text messages from fans go straight to the control room or alternatively a fan can phone main reception for a quick response, if any difficulty arises on a match day.
A representative asked where touts obtain their tickets and the Club responded that they come from membership largely. A couple of thousand memberships are suspended each year. Touting is seen as a minor offence by police and thus not a principal focus on a match day. An exclusion zone around the stadium was lifted a few years ago but, when operational, it only worked when police enforced that anyway. We sell one ticket to a member per game and these are the ones being sold on. However, a worse issue now is fraud as both fake tickets and fake memberships are being sold. A PIN was sold to an unsuspecting fan once. The same touts go around the London grounds and non-sporting events too. If we had more onerous membership requirements the number of members would go down, more tickets would go on general sale so touts could buy them anyway. If tickets have photos on them to ensure they’re non-transferable, then the facility for fans to pass them to others if they can’t attend a game will be lost.
Also, individual touts don’t have tickets or much money on them. Our games against Manchester teams tend to be the worst. We haven’t gone on general sale at all this season.
A supporter commented that she’d been stopped with her husband for touting for no reason on one occasion. The Club added that its record time for selling a full away allocation is 30 seconds, such is the level of demand for tickets. Those who appear lost around the stadium when collecting tickets are questioned, as we only sell to members. The Chairman added that the subject is being discussed in more detail at the main Forum later today so CDSA representatives are welcome to read those minutes in due course.
Ticket facilities and prices for the disabled
The Club informed representatives that it is currently under scrutiny from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (the “EHRC”) in relation to disabled access provision at Stamford Bridge and ticketing arrangements for disabled supporters.
Significant changes to improve the number and location of wheelchair spaces are being planned and further information will be provided in relation to this in due course.
The Club is undertaking a review of its disabled ticketing policies following suggestions by the EHRC that aspects of its current arrangements may be discriminatory.
The Club will not make changes to its polices without informing and consulting the CDSA and it has not, at this time, agreed to make any changes. However, it welcomes the views of disabled supporters as to possible changes, including in relation to the abolition of free tickets and the reinstatement of away season tickets in order to bring disabled ticketing practices into line with those for non-disabled supporters.
Representatives commented that our own non-disabled fans would probably applaud the Club’s policy about not charging disabled fans and other clubs should be encouraged to follow our lead. Away season tickets for disabled supporters were discontinued as it was felt that the scheme cut down opportunities for disabled supporter to attend away matches.
A representative commented that many disabled fans have lower incomes and may be unable to pay for full price season tickets.
The Club informed representatives that we are looking to bring in the new online ticketing system next season or the season after, having worked with our developer.
The Club added there are likely to be developments in this regard with planning continuing this season and potential changes being implemented from next season.
The meeting finished at 5.10pm. .