Minutes, 1st meeting, season 2015-16
Attenborough Suite, Millennium Hotel, Chelsea FC
Monday 5th October 2015, 4.00pm
Attendees (Constituency represented/ role)
Hayes, Tim – Non-ambulant match supporter member
Law, Matthew – Honorary committee member
McGeever, Timothy – Ambulant season ticket (“ST”) holder
Piggott, Diane – Disabled Liaison Officer and Supporters’ Clubs Manager, Chelsea FC
Regan, Andy – Independent Chair
Smith, Graham – Head of Ticketing and Head of Supporters’ Liaison, Chelsea FC
Soder, Lauren – Disabled Liaison Officer and Supporters’ Club Supervisor, Chelsea FC
Apologies for absence
Hayden, Lisa – Non-ambulant ST holder
Powell, Mick – Ambulant match supporter member
(Action points are underlined.)
MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
There were no changes to the last minutes.
The following five action points are from the last full meeting in January:
Crystal Palace away match
The Club spoke to Crystal Palace who said they have taken seats out and made the platform higher so sight lines should be better in the future.
Feedback on disabled supporters’ facilities
The Club sent an email to disabled fans to form a focus group. This will meet on 15th October at approximately 6.30pm and 8pm to propose topics to be included in future surveys. The first survey will run alongside the main survey in the second half of the season. Topics will therefore be relevant to disabled fans. The Club will resend this to Tim.
Access to disabled toilets by non-disabled fans in the West Stand
The Club confirmed that no further complaints have been received about this. The Club will conduct checks on all toilets to ensure there are hangers/ hooks at appropriate heights.
The Club has suggested some designs (as circulated). The Club welcomes feedback from representatives as soon as possible so it can consider ordering items.
The Club confirmed that the only items currently distributed by stewards in the stadium are the ponchos when required. Umbrellas as shown in one of the designs couldn’t be used in the stadium.
CDSA Facebook site
Matthew confirmed he has set this up and there have been around 45 likes to date.
STADIUM UPGRADE AND CONSULTATION
The Club commented that stakeholders were invited to two consultation phases. When further details are ready and planning permission is obtained then further consultation will occur.
The Club confirmed that a temporary home for three years would be needed. The Club is considering various options.
Disabled facilities will be excellent at a new stadium. Facilities for everyone will be second to none. The standard of facilities is also a major factor in the decision regarding a temporary home.
DISABLED SUPPORTERS’ FACILITIES
One representative stated that improved facilities were promised by the previous chief executive. The Club commented that it is not aware of this being guaranteed if the reference is to having one discrete area for disabled supporters. The issue can be addressed in a new stadium but no guarantees can be given at this stage.
AWAY DISABLED SEASON TICKETS / COMPARISON WITH NON-DISABLED SCHEME
One representative commented that there used to be STs specifically for disabled fans. The Club responded that it’s aware the scheme has run for many years but it was inherently unfair as the same three individuals could have permanent priority. In effect three people were being ring fenced and it was a closed shop. At West Ham there are six wheelchair spaces so only three would have been available to non away ST holders. Instead all the places could be sold on loyalty points this season and the tickets sold out on 55 points. West Ham is being sold to members now and there are some ambulant tickets left.
The Club confirmed that Kiev will cost five Euros per ticket. The Club confirmed that the new system for ticket collection went well in Porto and there was a police presence to avoid problems. For Kiev we are only telling applicants where to collect their tickets in order to add further safety for our fans. The Club added that the intention is to avoid touting and purchasers passing on tickets to other fans, as well as a response to the type of problem we saw in Paris.
Some other clubs have similar systems in place. For the Napoli home match some fans must have passed on or sold their tickets to Napoli fans as the match didn’t go on general sale.
There were about 3,000 membership cancellations or suspensions last season for ticket-related activities. We have extra signage in place this season regarding touting and more police action is being taken against them.
The Club confirmed we got to 101,000 members last season. We need the bigger stadium not least due to the number of seats we lose for UEFA matches. At present we have 24,000 ST holders.
In response to a question the Club confirmed the food ordering app and facility is working well. Food and drink must be ordered at least 48 hours before a game and are then provided for collection. There is a separate collection space at the kiosks. Chelsea reward points may be added to the process as an incentive.
The Club confirmed there are 3,000 tickets for most away fans. For the first time our away scheme is sold out, at 800 tickets. This was intentionally capped not least as the Bournemouth away allocation is small.
PROVISION OF DISABLED TICKETS TO AWAY FANS
The Club was asked why we give away fans free wheelchair spaces whereas we get charged when our fans travel away, such as at West Ham. The Club responded that we are not allowed to charge more to away fans here than we charge home fans so as we don’t charge home wheelchair users, we have to offer free tickets to wheelchair users of the away clubs. We may be the only Premier League club not to charge for any wheelchairs.
The Club said other clubs don’t confirm how many members they have in total. In 2004 we had 38,000 members. In Barcelona there are voting rights with membership to elect a president as well. According to our research a lot of fans – especially overseas – are happy with a membership card and are less interested in ticket availability.
DISABLED FANS PURCHASING NON-DISABILITY TICKETS
The Club will have a new live online ticket system in place in 2017 and we are looking at whether disabled tickets could be included but for now we would rather have a secure email application system for disabled supporters to minimise misunderstandings. The current system is the best way to assist fans at present.
The Club was asked to consider changing the “ambulant/non-ambulant” definitions as used at the moment when the new system is in place. It responded that this is a decision for the long-term future.
COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACCESSIBLE STADIA GUIDE/ LPF ACCESS AUDIT
The Club confirmed that Premier League shareholders, I.e. the 20 clubs, agreed that minimum standards for all stadia will be implemented by 2017. We would be covered for this in a temporary home and would meet this in a rebuilt stadium.
There were no action points arising from the wheelchair access study meeting. The Club confirmed there will be an access audit every two years just as there has been for the past six years.
DISABLED/ NON-DISABLED SEATS AT WEMBLEY
One representative commented that it isn’t possible to purchase non-disabled tickets next to disabled fans at Wembley. The Club commented that we can only accommodate the platform we have been given by Wembley. The problem is that ST holders and members have tickets sold separately. There are also different price categories at Wembley to factor in.
If we move to Wembley temporarily – or at another venue - we could run the ticketing with much more flexibility.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
In response to a question the Club said there were no arrangements planned for stewards to be at the stadium there. This arrangement was only for Paris last season. Also the Club said that Porto’s arrangement was to have wheelchairs in the home area which we can’t change. The same will be the case in Kiev.
The Club is not aware why the five individuals who were banned from Stamford Bridge were not prosecuted in France.
The Club confirmed the change to midweek meetings was due to staff and room availability and that tickets won’t be provided to CDSA representatives on a complimentary basis going forward.
Representatives were happy with this time for meeting. The Club will publicise the new meeting date as soon as it’s fixed.
The Club responded that the lift in the back of the shop will have a mirror added to assist wheelchairs reversing out.
It confirmed that the lift in the Matthew Harding Stand is fine.
The meeting finished at 5.00pm. .