Charlton fan’s ticket warning over abuse

12 Aug

Charlton supporters protest


Charlton supporters have staged numerous protests against owner Roland Duchatelet

A Charlton Athletic supporter has been told he would only receive his season ticket if he agreed not to criticise the club on social media.

The fan of the League One club was given the warning in a letter, which has been widely shared on Twitter.

Charlton claimed that only one letter was sent and that they met with the fan on Thursday.

He has now been given his ticket after apologising for abusive behaviour towards the club and some of its staff.

The letter suggested the fan would need to agree not to post “derogatory or inflammatory comments” about the club on social media and sign an ‘Agreed Behavioural Contract’.

But Charlton said he was given his ticket without signing the contract because of his apology.

It follows repeated protests by Charlton fans against owner Roland Duchatelet’s running of the club, including disrupting matches at The Valley by throwing beach balls and stress balls onto the pitch.

Duchatelet, a main shareholder at five football clubs, took charge of Charlton in January 2014.

In that time, he has overseen six managerial changes and the club’s relegation from the Championship last season.

Their first home game of the season is against Northampton Town on Saturday.

Tennis balls on Charlton pitch in protest<!–

The last few home games of last season were affected by protests from Charlton supporters

What did the letter to the supporter say?

The supporter, whose identity has not been revealed to BBC Sport, was written to by Charlton’s duty safety officer Cliff Eager on 2 August.

It stated: “We have identified that certain comments placed on social media websites by yourself have been not particularly constructive.

“Whilst we recognize that everyone is entitled to their own personal opinion it is not helpful when inflammatory comments are posted on such websites.

“The granting of your season ticket will be ‘conditional’ and subject to you receiving an ‘Agreed Behavioural Contract’, which will request that you refrain from posting derogatory or inflammatory comments regarding the club of people representing the club in the future on any social media websites.”

What was Charlton’s response?

A statement issued by the club confirmed the supporter had been written to about their “continued inappropriate behaviour towards members of staff on Charlton’s official social media accounts and foul and abusive language captured on stadium cameras”.

Charlton’s head of matchday operations Mick Everett and Eager met with the supporter on Thursday.

Roland Duchatelet and Katrien Meire<!–

Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet and chief executive Katrien Meire have been widely criticised by supporters

“During the meeting, the level of abuse, which the individual has since voluntarily removed from their Twitter account, was discussed,” the statement read.

“The club also discussed the video footage, after which the individual apologised on several occasions for his behaviour and assured the club that he would not continue to engage in an abusive manner.”

What do fans think of the move?

Since Duchatelet’s takeover of the Addicks, protest group CARD (Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet) has been formed from an umbrella of Charlton supporters’ groups.

Organiser and lifelong club supporter Alan Davis told BBC Sport he was concerned the letter may be “the thin end of the wedge from the ownership”.

He said: “It might be the start of more to come. We know season ticket sales are down this year and I have not renewed myself for the first time in more than 20 years.

“CARD are not seeking to disrupt matches during August, but we will continue to protest.

“As a group, we developed a slogan that Charlton has become ‘the club that hates its fans’.”

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