The likelihood of you needing this advice is low. However, we thought it would be helpful to compile some helpful hints in the event you are involved in an incident with stewards either at the London Stadium or at an away game.
In the event you are, it’s important you remain calm and polite at all times. Shouting and swearing will not help your cause nor is it going to persuade a steward to change their minds. Fold your arms or keep them by your sides or behind your back so a steward cannot accuse you of being physically threatening.
You are obliged to respond to the reasonable requests of a match day steward and, like it or not, they do have power over you and can use reasonable force when required.
If you or your mates become involved in an incident, the following should assist.
1. Always record any incident but be wary not to antagonise a situation. If you can’t film, then an audio recording is the next best thing. A steward can ask you to stop filming but should not take your phone.
2. Write up an account as soon as possible afterwards while your memory is still fresh.
– ask witnesses for their personal details in case they are needed
– if injuries are caused take photographs
– if medical assistance is required, keep records
– the clubs complaints procedure is documented on their website.
3. Put your complaint in writing to the club and ask that any CCTV, including from body worn cameras (if applicable) is preserved as you may exercise your right to submit a Subject Access Request for any footage. (See point 8).
It is possible that the club will phone you in response to your initial complaint. Take notes of that call and ask for the email address of the person you have spoken to so you can – and this is important – follow up that call and formally ask that the key points from that conversation are confirmed in writing.
In the event a complaint is escalated or you are not happy with what the club are saying, it is important that there is a paper trail.
4. All stewards should wear an ID number or SIA badge. Take those details, again this is important so stewards can be easily identified.
5. Stewards can use reasonable force in certain circumstances.
6. Under the ground regulations supporters are obliged to adhere to reasonable requests. These may include stewards asking a supporter for their personal details.
It’s a grey area as to whether or not supporters should oblige to that but consider that a lack of co-operation may count against you.
7. A season ticket is the property of the club. If asked to surrender it, a supporter should oblige.
8. Supporters can use Data Protection to ask the club to disclose what information they hold about them. There is advice on how to make requests on the ICOs website. They club can’t just refuse a request. They should clarify what exemptions they are relying on.
We have set up an Email address for our members to contact us should they need assistance in approaching the club. Our committee and legal team, with assistance from the Football Supporters Association, will do our best to help including drafting letters for supporters. There will of course be cases when our members have to accept that they were in the wrong and that stewards were justified in their actions.
We are not here to judge you but to help and all we ask for in return is complete honesty. All information received will be treated in strict confidence and not shared with any external party unless specific consent is given.
Our email address is email@example.com
Members can also action through our website by using the form in the stewarding section on www.hammersunited.com (see below). The Football Supporters Association have solicitors who offer initial advice free of charge to members we refer to them. Again, all information is treated in strict confidence.
We hope this initiative will be of assistance to our members.
We would like to place on record our thanks to Amanda Jacks at the Football Supporters Association for her assistance in this initiative.
Come on You Irons.
Hammers United Committee.