CHARTER PROMISES FROM CLUB
(Monday 26th January 2004)
Customer Charter reportThe Club have been forced to give out three promises relating to their Customer Charter. The promises are a requirement of a Football League initiative that has come as a direct response to recommendations laid down by the Independent Football Commission (IFC). Wanderers, along with all other Football League clubs, issued their first Customer Charter during the 2000/1 season but it has since been criticised by fans for being too vague, simply paying lip service to supporters and merely filling a contractual obligation set by the Football League. Wanderers' Customer Charter is available via the Official website but has not been updated since it was originally published.
The IFC laid down a recommendation last year designed to overcome these sort of criticisms, commenting in its February 2003 report "Charters should include clear, measurable improvements targets for each year and progress reports should be made public"
The promises from all clubs are outlined in The Football League's Annual Report on Customer Charters for 2003 which has been produced with the backing of the IFC. The report issued in December 2003 saw Football League Chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney state "The Football League takes seriously its responsibilities to the IFC. We share its commitment to improving customer relations and its desire for higher standards of governance in our national sport. It is our view that those who invest in football either financially or emotionally should be able to have absolute confidence in the integrity of this sport"
The report deals with complaints procedures, ticketing and anti-racism initiatives laid down in existing Club Charters but there is a new initiative for the 2003/4 season where The Football League have responded to an IFC recommendation by requesting "that each club make three promises they will keep for the benefit of their supporters". The Football League claim that the promises will be measured at the end of the 2003/4 season.

Wanderers Financial Director Rod Tomlin has provided the feedback on behalf of Wycombe in the December 2003 report and outlined the three promises.

1. To refine and implement the Travel Plan to the best of our ability. This will aid speed and comfort of access and egress for all customers.
2. To improve communication with all supporters, not only the two supporters' clubs, but all supporters.
3. To encourage newly formed Supporter Trust and hopefully welcome a representative onto The Board.

With time running out, the Club will be hard pushed to meet these promises. Progress on the Travel Plan has been minimal although there has been talk in the local press of an additional road through the Dashwood Estate. A Travel Plan with interested parties has also been arranged for Tuesday 24th February.
Wanderers followers have also homed in on a lack of communication surrounding the deal to bring in London Wasps as ground tenants, while the decision to sell-off the Adams Park name was met with widespread criticism. The promise of supporter representation on the Board also seems another case of paying lip service before any action has been agreed. Chairboys on the Net has learnt that the 'newly formed Supporter Trust' is no closer to being formed than it was 12 months ago and news of talks was only leaked out at the Football Club AGM in October 2003. This coupled, with the lack of any real progress reports on the Friends of Wycombe Wanderers Players Trust Fund, has left the Club with little credibility in this area.

The most contentious issue in the pipeline is the Wanderers' Board intention to scrap the current one vote per member constitution and set-up an alternative company with the aim of bringing in outside 'investment'. With 75% of any vote needed in favour to pass any such resolution the Club have realised that good communication will be a key factor in swaying the doubters. They have consequently called Football Club members to presentation meetings in January and February to put forward these proposals. A Fans Forum has also been arranged for Thursday 26th February where the dialogue will continue.

The focus on communication will also be highlighted when a report by the 150-member all party parliamentary football group is released in February 2004. This report, put together with feedback from the IFC, is understood to call for clubs to be more open about their finances and to allow for tax aid for supporters trusts involved in the running of their clubs. It's also thought that Clubs will be given advance warning of the report in order for them to react upon its official release.


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