The newly-formed Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) seems to be having an impact as news reaches us of a Crystal Palace fan who has been given a full refund after missing nine of his team’s games following some over-zealous stewarding.
Back in August Crystal Palace season-ticket holder Andrew Saunders got in touch with the FSF following his team’s season opener at home to Watford. Stewards swooped after they noticed Andrew, who was sober, sitting next to a friend who was drunk. Sitting next to someone who is drunk is a new offence to us.
As he went down to the lower concourse Andrew was surrounded by stewards and forcibly ejected from the stadium. He was given absolutely no chance to explain himself and the head steward refused to give a reason for the ejection.
Andrew resisted and was charged with assault – an accusation he vehemently denies saying he’d only acted in self-defence in response to the aggressive manner in which he was treated. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) agreed and dropped all charges in October due to insufficient evidence.
Understandably, he then contacted the club to claim the money back on the nine games he’d been forced to miss. The club ignored letters sent by both Andrew and the FSF, this is in clear breach of the club’s own charter. Unbelievably they even ignored a letter from the Football League on the matter!
Having exhausted every route Andrew was left with no option but to approach the IFO and, hey presto, it worked! Within a week the club had contacted him and promised a full refund.
“The FSF have been fantastically supportive, with advice from Malcolm Clark and Amanda Jacks, backed up by their letter to Crystal Palace,” said Andrew.
“I was also delighted with the speed at which the IFO intervened. In less than two weeks the IFO spoke to the Football League and then contacted Palace to successfully resolve the matter.”
The FSF are regularly contacted by supporters with complaints regarding their club’s stewarding policy. While success can’t always be promised we will always advise supporters on the options available to them and back them to the hilt when we feel they have a genuine case. If you have anything you’d like to report, email the FSF.
If you have a complaint with your club and have exhausted all other routes, it’s well worth contacting the IFO as well!