SAINTS are joint bottom of a Premier League table organised by the Football Supporters Federation with regards to customer service guidelines.
The FSF could not give any points to Saints – or Reading, Stoke City and Swansea City – because they could not find a club charter on the club’s official website.
Liverpool and Crystal Palace might not be where fans would like them to be in their respective league tables, but both clubs have got things right when it comes to customer service guidelines.
Every club charter was rated 0-5 across a range of categories encompassing accessibility, timeliness, quality, clarity of complaints procedure, appeals process, and contacts for the relevant league and Independent Football Ombudsman.
Club charters provide consumer information and protection with guidelines on club policy relating to ticketing issues, complaints procedures, community work, merchandise and more.
It is now 13 years since the government- appointed Football Task Force Report said that all clubs should adopt a “customer charter”.
Research carried out by the FSF found that one in four clubs in the top two divisions had no charter or a charter that was not linked to via the club’s official website.
Only one in three clubs included contact details for the Independent Football Ombudsman.
The IFO rules on disputes between clubs and fans which cannot be resolved in-house.
While Liverpool topped the Premier League table, it was a close run thing as Wigan Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal pushed them close with well-crafted club charters.
A statement said: “Southampton is a club whose charter has impressed the FSF in past seasons, but the Saints seem to have forgotten to upload it to their website for 2012-13 – hopefully this acts as a reminder.”
In the Championship , Crystal Palace scored a perfect round to top the table at a canter.
Ipswich Town propped up the table with the Tractor Boys failing to provide fans with a club charter at all.
Martin O’Hara, deputy chair of the FSF, said: “Football fans love their club but that passion doesn’t mean we always see eye-to-eye.
“Sometimes things do go wrong and the FSF believes that club charters can play a vital role, particularly when it comes to effective complaints resolution.
“But they’re of no use to anyone if they’re impossible to find or tucked away at the bottom of someone’s draw.
“Too many club charters are incomplete, out-of-date or don’t even appear on official websites.
“This is despite guidance from the Football League which has worked with the FSF to remind clubs of their obligation to good customer care and club charters.
“The Premier League also takes this seriously although too few of its clubs seem to share that view.”
- The FSF is the national supporters’ organisation for all football fans from England and Wales, comprising more than 200,000 individual fans and members of local supporters’ organisations from every club in the professional structure and beyond.