Complaints and Discipline Procedure (Jun-21)

Watford Walking Football Club will adhere to all disciplinary procedures set by the relevant National, County Associations and Leagues to which the club belongs. In addition, the club will run its own internal procedures. The Club is affiliated to both the Walking Football Association (WFA) and the FA.

In the event that any member, official, player, or volunteer feels that he or she has suffered treatment that is not in accordance with the rules or spirit of the game, or believes that Club’s Constitution, Code of Conduct, Policies or Rules have been broken, or they have an issue that cannot be resolved within their team, they should follow the procedures below.

1. They should report the matter to the Secretary and/or Chairman of the club either via email or in writing. No correspondence will be entered into unless the complaint is via these routes only. Any other medium e.g. text message, WhatsApp, etc. will be referred to this policy.

The report should include, where appropriate:

a) Details of what happened, when, and where the incident took place.

b) In the event of any written evidence e.g. email, this should be forwarded at the same time.

c) The names of any witnesses if appropriate should be provided.

d) Names of any others who have been treated in a similar way.

e) Details of any former complaints made about the incident; date, when and to whom made.

f) A preference for a solution to the incident.

2. All complaints will be dealt with by a Disciplinary Committee nominated by the club. The Disciplinary Committee will consist of 3 people, at least one of whom will be a Club Management Committee member and at least one who is not on the Club Management Committee and will have a nominated Chairperson. Where the potential breach involves a member of the Management Committee, the Disciplinary Committee will be chaired by someone independent of the Club Committee. No person against whom the Complaint is made or who is closely connected to the Complaint shall be a member of the relevant Disciplinary Committee.

3. The Disciplinary Committee will gather statements and decide initially on whether there is a case to answer, and if so, whether the potential breach is deemed to be “Minor”, “Moderate” or “Major.

a) A “Minor” breach would involve an act where an action caused no more than minor inconvenience or embarrassment to the offended party or the club.

b) A “Major” breach would involve an act that is deemed by the Disciplinary Committee to be likely to bring the Club into disrepute, such as acts of violence, extreme aggression or serious abuse of referees, match officials, spectators, club members, players of either side or opposition team officials or cause harm to a club member or member of the public.

All other breaches would be considered “Moderate”.

4. Where possible, the complaint will be dealt with through written statements from the person against whom the complaint was made and all witnesses named by both parties. These statements will be made available to both parties. Unless, in the view of the Disciplinary Committee, the complexity or seriousness of the complaint requires a formal hearing, the complaint will be judged on the basis of the written statements. In all cases, the Disciplinary Committee will report their findings and recommendations to the Club Management Committee before communicating them to the parties involved in the dispute.

5. If a player (including an off-field substitute) is shown a red card for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards any other player, a referee, an official or any other participant they will automatically be suspended from all Club activities for a minimum period of two weeks. During their time of suspension the offending player will be expected to pay all club dues. An automatic two-week suspension would also apply if a player is shown a red card for deliberate ‘aggravated’ foul play (violent conduct). The referee issuing a red card is expected to refer such conduct to the Disciplinary Committee who may consider that further sanctions are appropriate.

6. The Disciplinary Committee will have the power to recommend to the Club Management Committee any solution they consider appropriate, including:

a) Requesting an apology from the party(s) at fault.

b) Warning as to future conduct.

c) Suspension from membership.

d) Expulsion from the Club.

7. The Club has an appeal panel should the party(s) responsible and found to be at fault feel that they have been treated incorrectly or unfairly. Any appeal should be submitted to the Club Secretary and/or Chairman of the club via email or in writing. The appellant should set out the ground(s) of appeal and the reasons why it would be substantially unfair not to alter the original decision. The appellant should set out a statement of facts upon which the appeal is based with supporting evidence where available. No correspondence will be entered into unless the complaint is via these routes only. Their decision is final.