Sunderland Association Football Club's Customer Charter demonstrates the club's commitment to achieving the highest possible standards across all aspects of its off-the-field operations.
Affordable ticketing policies, supporter consultation and commitments to our local community, are all made within this Charter. The club abides by these policies and is committed to ensuring that the promises within its Charter are delivered.
Consultation and information
The views and opinions of Sunderland supporters are of paramount importance to the club and feedback is encouraged, welcomed and highly valued.
Regular meetings are held with supporters groups, giving them the opportunity to discuss club and national football issues face-to-face with senior management and Directors. Supporter focus groups and research polls take place from time to time and the Club actively supports its independent Supporters Association. The club's dedicated supporter liaison officer, oversees the overall function of supporter engagement, ensuring a proactive and cohesive approach across all areas of the club.
Consultation with supporters takes place regularly through annual Supporter Collective meetings and focus groups with the SAFCSA Branch Liaison Council and Red and White Army. The club also operates fans forums, consulting and welcoming feedback from supporters on a wide range of issues.
The Red and White Army Supporters' Trust is an independent, democratic and inclusive supporters group that aims to provide a voice for membership. For further information on this supporter trust please visit Home | redandwhitearmy
Branch Liaison meetings take place every two months, whereby representatives from supporter branches meet with Club officials to discuss a variety of issues. Each meeting has a designated agenda, points for which are nominated by individual branches and the minutes are circulated to all branches and made available to view on the Club's official website, which has a special section devoted to supporters' branches. For further information on this fan group please visit SAFC Branch Liaison Council – BLC Website (safcblc.com)
An email database of supporters' branches ensures that club media releases and up-to-date information regarding matters such as fixture changes can be sent daily.
The club communicates with supporters through a variety of channels. These include safc.com, the official website, the matchday programme Red and White and other available media channels.
Club officials, including the manager, players and directors are made available regularly to the media and news releases are issued to regional and national newspapers, radio and television regularly.
We will continue to develop ways to consult with supporters, shareholders, sponsors, the local authority and other stakeholders. Fans' feedback is highly valued and ideas and suggestions are implemented where appropriate.
The Supporter Liaison Officer, Chris Waters, provides a direct line of communication for supporters to the club and will report the comments received to management. Supporters’ ideas and suggestions relating to the match day experience at the Stadium of Light are encouraged. This feedback will be used to provide an insight into supporter’s views and opinions. Chris can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessible Season Cards
Season card prices are the same as above, plus supporters receive one personal assistant season ticket free of charge.
Tickets for cup competitions are generally priced at the same level as league matches. However, in the earlier rounds, ticket prices are often reduced if the opposing club agrees. Season card holders have priority before any general sale of cup tickets. SAFC has set criteria for the allocation of tickets in games whereby the ticket allocation could be restricted, such as a semi-final or final of a cup competition.
Sunderland AFC offer a wide range of match day hospitality from luxurious suites and private executive boxes to informal comfort and a great match day atmosphere.
We have a package to suit every need, whether you’re entertaining guests, making contacts or soaking up the match day experience with friends.
For full details of all our packages please visit the hospitality section of our website https://www.safc.com/hospitality/seasonal-hospitality.
BLACK CAT POINTS
The club operates a Black Cat point ticketing scheme, whereby supporters accrue points for each away game or home cup game attended. When tickets are limited, or when demand out-strips supply (i.e. set-piece cup fixtures), the Black Cat point system comes in to force and tickets are sold in phases.
FACILITIES FOR DISABLED SUPPORTERS
Sunderland AFC is committed to providing first-class facilities for all supporters and every effort is made to ensure that disabled patrons are given the same level of access as other supporters.
Following changes to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), a full audit of all our facilities was carried out to ensure compliance with the changes in legislation. Several changes were made following this audit, such as improved signage and including tactile signs in public concourse areas to assist the visually impaired - and adjustments to handrails, indicating the starting and finishing points.
All staff undergo training in Disability Awareness, ensuring that we can fully understand and meet the needs of our disabled customers. This is done on a rolling basis for new members of staff.
The club has a designated Disability Liaison Officer, Chris Waters. We ask all supporters to liaise with the club ticket office initially for any ticket or parking requirements. The DLO is on hand to make the process of purchasing tickets, car parking and other matters as easy as possible for both home and visiting disabled supporters if a supporter needs any further support.
The Disability Liaison Officer also attends meetings of the Sunderland AFC Disabled Supporters Group. The Club also consults on an on-going basis with its disabled supporters' branch, ascertaining their views on many issues such as DDA legislation, facilities and parking. This procedure will be on-going for the new season.
Sunderland AFC continues to be aware of the needs of disabled supporters. As part of our continued commitment, an independent access audit has been carried out in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act. The recommendations, none of which were identified as high priority, are being addressed on an ongoing basis.
The club has spaces for wheelchair supporters located at lower and upper levels throughout the stadium, giving disabled patrons a wide choice of location and price. Visiting disabled supporters have a bespoke area within the visitors section of the stadium.
Designated car parking spaces in close proximity to the turnstiles are made available for disabled supporters.
Sunderland AFC has two available sensory rooms for supporters to purchase tickets for home matches at the Stadium of Light. Further information is here - https://safc.com/club/sensory-room
In compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act, disabled patrons are charged the prevailing ticket price throughout the stadium, with personal assistants being provided with a ticket free of charge. This ensures that that the disabled patron is not penalised financially for requiring assistance.
Full Stadium of Light Ground Regulations can be viewed here - https://safc.com/club/corporate-information/ground-regulations
REPLICA KIT CYCLE
New home and away replica kits are released each season. This is in accordance with the club's commercial commitments to kit sponsor Nike. Sales of replica kit directly benefit the club and help to strengthen its resources in a continuing effort to take the club forward.
Sunderland AFC is committed to providing the highest standard of service and quality products to its customers. The club continually monitors its procedures and welcomes all supporter feedback. All customers have the right to be treated with respect and club staff will endeavour to answer telephone calls promptly and handle all enquiries courteously and efficiently.
The club aims to acknowledge all enquires within ten working days and subsequently respond in full to any contact from a customer within a maximum of 30 days. If a full response cannot be given within this timeframe, an acknowledgement is given indicating the time required to resolve the query. The club responds by telephone, email, letter and in-person to all feedback.
Supporters are encouraged to contact the department relevant to their query in the first instance. Please contact the relevant departments initially:
Ticket Office – email@example.com
Retail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hospitality – email@example.com
Concerts – firstname.lastname@example.org
In the unlikely event a query/complaint is not dealt with promptly or satisfactorily, customers are advised to contact Chris Waters, Supporter Liaison Officer – email@example.com. Chris will liaise with the departments management to ensure of a satisfactory outcome.
On the rare occasion we may be unable to meet your expectations with our response, we will direct you to the Independent Football Ombudsman for you to escalate your complaint.
Further details can be found at www.theifo.co.uk.
VIOLENT, ABUSIVE OR DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOUR
As an employer, Sunderland AFC has a duty to care for the health and wellbeing of its employees. The club also has a legal responsibility to provide a safe and secure working environment for staff. All supporters are expected to behave in an acceptable manner. Violent or abusive behaviour towards staff or other supporters may result in removal from the premises and suspension from the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland AFC follows strict guidelines concerning zero tolerance of verbal abuse and physical violence towards its staff.
We expect all supporters to be responsible and avoid attending the club under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
Examples of Unacceptable Behaviour
- Excessive noise e.g. re-current loud or intrusive conversation or shouting
- Threatening or abusive language involving swearing or offence remarks
- Derogatory racial or sexual remarks
- Malicious allegations relating to members of staff, other supporters or visitors
- Wilful damage to Sunderland AFC property
- Threats or threatening behaviour
Our staff will always treat everyone with dignity and respect and we expect the same from supporters. SAFC staff should be able to do their jobs without being physically or verbally abused. Anyone found abusing staff will be asked to leave the premises. This behaviour will not be tolerated.
In the event you witness any such behaviour please advise us immediately by contacting the club on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We are registered on the public register of data controllers maintained by the Information Commissioner. We are committed to protecting your privacy. We take our responsibilities to secure your personal information very seriously. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 ("DPA"), we follow strict security procedures in the storage and disclosure of information which you give to us.
SAFC CELEBRATES CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Cultural diversity is something to be celebrated and Sunderland AFC believes that everyone has the right to attend football matches in a safe and friendly environment - and that means all members of our community, whatever their ethnic origin.
Players are committed to promoting diversity
Sport and football in particular, is a universal language that unites people from different cultures and nations with a common interest. At Sunderland AFC we have players from a whole host of countries that work together as a team.
Our players, regardless of their ethnic origin and cultural background of a player share a great team spirit, work hard for each other and are supported by fans from around the world. There is no room for racism of any kind within the game, and our community and Sunderland's players offer their wholehearted support to the 'Kick it Out' organisation and 'Show Racism the Red Card', participating in community events and schemes aimed at promoting anti-racism and cultural diversity, particularly with young people.
The players participate in a team photo each year for 'Show Racism the Red Card' (SRTRC) - this is then produced in an anti-racism poster and distributed to tens of thousands of local youngsters through schools and community engagement. The players also attend events under the SRTRC banner, promoting diversity and highlighting anti-racism issues.
Actively working to eradicate racism
Sunderland AFC has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and anti-social behaviour of any kind at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland AFC is proactive in its attempt to tackle racism and anti-social behaviour. Any complaints which are received are monitored by the stewards and where necessary, working in liaison with the police who are on duty in the ground. Appropriate action is taken as a result of this monitoring procedure.
We remain committed to actively eradicating any such behaviour and ask our supporters to embrace this fundamental stance.
Inclusivity for all
Sunderland AFC is an Equal Opportunities employer. The club is committed to a policy of treating all employees and job applicants equally. The aim is that all colleagues should be able to work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying.
Sunderland AFC wholeheartedly supports the principle of equal opportunities in employment. It is unreservedly opposed to any form of direct, or indirect, discrimination being applied against employees of Sunderland AFC, or those who seek employment with Sunderland AFC, on the grounds of their colour, race, ethnic origin, religion, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, marital/parental status, disability or age.
We take every possible step to ensure that individuals are treated equally and fairly and that decisions on recruitment, selection, training, promotion career management and every other aspect of employment are based solely on objective and job-related criteria.
The Foundation of Light - multi agency approach to tackling racism
The Foundation of Light, the registered charity of Sunderland AFC has been instrumental in engaging youngsters and adults across the North East in programmes that challenge anti-social and racist behavior.
The Foundation has a strategic partnership with Sunderland City Council allowing the two to work closely together to promote a culture of inclusion is to demonstrate that the city is not prepared to tolerate racism of any kind.
Specifically the Foundation's 'Tackle It - Racism' programme provides positive activities involving teamwork and looking at differences and diversity within cultures to young people throughout the North East, particularly throughout Sunderland and Washington.
It aims to raise awareness of issues using the high profile of football, during informal education sessions, to increase tolerance and sense of community by striving to change attitudes, using prevention methods in primary children right through to family learning with all generations.
The Board of Directors of Sunderland AFC is fully committed to the safeguarding and welfare of children, young people, adults at risk and vulnerable groups. All staff, players and volunteers are expected to share this commitment and to support and develop a culture of safeguarding vigilance across the organisation.
The Club makes provisions for children and young people, young players and adults at risk through adherence to and understanding of the Sunderland AFC Safeguarding Policies and Procedures, including a robust recruitment process, ensuring that:
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare and well-being of vulnerable groups is of paramount importance.
- All children and adults at risk of harm, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse, exploitation and poor practice.
- The club will work to empower young people and adults at risk to safeguard themselves and develop their resilience to harm or abuse.
- Staff have a responsibility to act on a suspicion or disclosure which suggests an adult at risk or a child may be at risk of harm. Any concerns will be reported to the club Safeguarding Manager and/or Designated Safeguarding Officers.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- Sunderland AFC have a responsibility to fully support anyone who in good faith reports their concerns that a child or adult at risk is, or may be, being abused or mistreated.
Further information on this can be found here – https://safc.com/club/corporate-information/safeguarding
Any requests for charitable donations must be sent in writing (not email) to: Charity Requests, Sunderland AFC, Stadium of Light, Sunderland, SR5 1SU.
The request must state which registered charity you are, your registered charity number, the date of the event, the nature of the event and full contact details. Any donations are in the form of signed memorabilia. We do not offer financial support or financial sponsorship of any kind.
Please note although we would love to donate signed merchandise/raffle/auction items to every worthwhile cause, this is simply impossible due to the high volume of requests received. Due to the number of requests received, Sunderland AFC aim to respond to all requests within a six-week period to inform you if the club is able to offer a raffle prize.
We are unable to accept requests from third parties raising funds on behalf of registered charities or appeals unless the letter is accompanied by an official letter on the charity's letterhead confirming that the person is authorised to raise funds on the charity's behalf. The request has to be supported by this to receive a donated item.
FOUNDATION OF LIGHT - committed to improving our community
Foundation of Light, the registered charity of Sunderland AFC, was founded on 2001. Since then the organisation has grown to a team of more than 100 professional teachers, health workers, coaches, family learning oﬃcers, youth workers and support staff. This means a very diverse range of talent, skills and experience, all united in a common passion, enthusiasm and drive to make a difference.
The organisation runs programmes at the Beacon of Light, in local schools, community centres and at bespoke outreach centres throughout Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.
The Foundation of Light aims to use the power of football, and the Sunderland AFC brand to involve, educate and inspire young people and their families through a broad range of innovative activities.
Foundation of Light is committed and pro-active in addressing the issues within the local community, working both on their own initiative and with strategic partners to ensure the continuing improvement of quality of life for all in the North East.
Sunderland AFC supports the Foundation of Light through the use of the SAFC brand and facilities as well as involving ﬁrst-team players to help raise the organisation's proﬁle and inspire young people and their families. We use football to give people opportunities that can help them improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
- The Foundation of Light aims to:
- Increase access and participation in positive activity
- Develop new skills and abilities to increase options
- Inspire people to achieve and raise aspirations now and in future generations
- Contribute to safe, healthy and regenerated communities
- Be an integral and embedded part of the local community
OUR COMMITMENT TO THE FUTURE
Throughout the 2023-24 season and beyond, Sunderland AFC aims to continue a positive and productive dialogue with its supporters, aimed at ensuring that club and fans are working together positively and proactively for a common goal.