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CONSTITUTION OF THE CAMBRIDGE UNITED SUPPORTERS’ PANEL

Supporters' Panel Constitution

1

NAME

1.1

The organisation will be known as the Cambridge United Supporters’ Panel

2

SUMMARY

2.1

 

The Supporters’ Panel will be formed of a maximum of 11 Cambridge United fans, elected by their fellow supporters.  Elections to the Supporters’ Panel will be held every two years.

2.2

 

The Supporters’ Panel will meet with Directors and officials of Cambridge United FC at least four times a year.  Cambridge United FC will host Supporters’ Panel communications on the official club website and in the official match day programme, but the Supporters’ Panel will be free to set up its own website if it wishes. 

2.3

 

The Supporters’ Panel will elect a Chair and Vice-Chair, and will hold separate, internal meetings as frequently as it sees fit.  The Supporters’ Panel will hold an AGM, open to all fans, once a year.  It will publish a short annual report at the end of each football season. 

3

AIMS & OBJECTIVES

3.1

 

The aim of the Cambridge United Supporters’ Panel (hereafter “CUSP”) is to facilitate trust between Cambridge United FC (“the Club”) and Cambridge United fans (“the fans”), by increasing transparency in the way the Club operates and makes decisions.  The CUSP will enable:

  • fans to ask questions of the Club;
  • the views of the fans to be promoted within the Club;
  • the Club to make decisions having understood the fans views; and
  • the fans to understand the rationale behind key decisions taken by the Club. 

3.2

This will be achieved by:

  • CUSP members canvassing and listening to the views of their fellow fans;
  • CUSP meeting regularly with officials and Directors of the Club to raise and discuss the issues that the fans want it to discuss;
  • the Club raising relevant issues for discussion with, and asking questions of, the CUSP; and
  • widely publicising the outcome of the meetings. 

3.3

The CUSP will not run the Club nor make key decisions.

3.4

At the end of its first year and then annually the CUSP and the Club will jointly review the effectiveness of the CUSP in meeting its aims and objectives, to ensure it can constantly improve.  The outcome of this review will be included in the CUSP annual report (see 9.7).

4

MEMBERSHIP

4.1

 

Membership of the CUSP will be limited to a maximum of 11 fans.

4.2

Members of the CUSP will:

  • be elected by their fellow Cambridge United supporters (see Section 5) and will be required to canvass and represent the views of those fans;
  • adhere to the defined standards of behaviour (see Section 12);
  • make a reasonable effort to attend all CUSP meetings and CUSP meetings with the Club; and
  • attend meetings at their own expense. 

4.3

 

Any member stepping down from the CUSP mid-term will not be replaced until the next election.  An election will be triggered if membership of the CUSP falls below six members, which also represents the quorum for internal CUSP meetings. 

4.4

 

The Club cannot veto any candidate wanting to stand for election to the CUSP (who qualifies as per Section 5) or refuse to accept any elected member as part of the CUSP – but see also the acceptable behaviour requirements at Section 12. 

5

ELECTIONS

5.1

 

Any Cambridge United fan is eligible to stand as a candidate for election to the CUSP, as long as he/she is:

  • 16 years old, or over;
  • not a director or full time paid member of staff at the Club;
  • not the subject of a Football Banning Order.

5.2

 

Any serving member of the CUSP will stand down immediately if they become ineligible.

5.3

 

Elections of fans to stand as members of the CUSP will be held every two years.  Following the election of the initial CUSP, an election will be held at the beginning of the 2021-22 football season and then every two years thereafter. 

5.4

 

Elections will be held on a one fan / one vote basis.  The 11 fans receiving the most votes will be elected to the CUSP.  If there are only 11 or less candidates an election will not be required, and all candidates will be automatically become members of the CUSP. 

5.5

 

Elections to the CUSP will be overseen by an independent third party.

6

 

OFFICERS

6.1

 

From its membership the CUSP will, once a year, elect a Chair and a Vice Chair.  The CUSP is free to elect or nominate any other officers that it sees fit (eg; secretary, minute taker, communications officer and their deputies).

6.2

 

The CUSP Chair will have the casting vote on any CUSP motions or other business.  The Chair will be responsible for preparing and agreeing the agenda for CUSP meetings with the Club (in consultation with the Club and fellow CUSP members).

6.3

 

The Vice Chair will assume these roles in the absence of the Chair.

6.4

 

No member will serve more than two consecutive terms (ie two successive years) as a Chair or Vice Chair of the CUSP.

7

REPRESENTATION

7.1

 

From its membership the CUSP will elect or nominate lead representatives for specific groups of fans.  These representatives will act as the main point of contact for communications and consultations with the group concerned.

7.2

 

If possible these groups will include:

  • Fans who normally watch home games in the Main Stand;
  • Fans who normally watch home games in the Habbin Stand;
  • Fans who normally watch home games in the Newmarket Road End;
  • Fans who normally watch home games in the Family Section of the Main Stand;
  • Female supporters;
  • Disabled supporters;
  • BAME supporters;
  • LGBT supporters;
  • Young supporters (under 16 year olds);
  • Senior Citizen supporters (over 65 years old);
  • Members of Cambridge Fans United (CFU);
  • Supporters Club members.

7.3

Any CUSP member can represent one or more of these groups.

8

SUPPORTERS’ PANEL MEETINGS WITH THE CLUB

8.1

 

The CUSP will meet with the Club at least four times a year.  A meeting timetable will be maintained, with at least the next three CUSP / Club meetings always diarised.  Where possible CUSP meetings with the Club will be timed to allow discussion on key upcoming decisions or events (such as the Club’s annual ticket price review and the annual EFL Conference).

8.2

 

Either party can request an additional CUSP / Club meeting (ie over and above those scheduled) if there are exceptional circumstances, giving a minimum of 14 days notice. 

8.3

 

CUSP meetings with the Club will be hosted free of charge by the Club at the Abbey Stadium, normally scheduled for a weekday with an early evening start. 

8.4

 

Both parties will agree the meeting agenda in advance.  The agenda will normally include specific questions from fans as well as wider topics for discussion.

8.5

 

The agenda and dialogue at the meetings between the CUSP and the Club will be as open as possible.  The CUSP will accept, however, that for legal reasons (such as data protection and employment law) the Club will not be able to share certain information and, additionally, will not want to share certain business-sensitive information (such as low-level financial data).  The CUSP will also understand that some discussions will have to be treated in confidence (ie, not to be minuted or discussed outside the meeting).  These restrictions will, however, be the exception and not the rule, and the Club will explain clearly (and to the satisfaction of the CUSP) why information cannot be provided or must be treated in confidence. 

8.6

 

The Club will send representatives to meetings with the CUSP in line with the topics for discussion in the agreed agenda, but this will always include at least one Director and one senior official.  In addition the Fans Elected Director (FED) and the Club’s Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) will attend all meetings with the CUSP.  Where appropriate a Director and/or official from the playing side of the Club will attend these meetings. 

8.7

 

The SLO will chair the meetings between the Club and the CUSP.

8.8

 

All agreed actions arising from the CUSP meetings with the Club will be minuted and assigned to a nominated individual to discharge (within a agreed set timescale).

8.9

The minutes of each meeting will agreed by the Club and the CUSP within seven days of each meeting and posted on the official Club website.

8.10

 

CUSP meetings with the Club may commission smaller sub-groups or working parties to examine specific issues, and to make recommendations.  These sub-groups may include co-opted non-CUSP elected members (eg; experts in a particular field).

9

COMMUNICATIONS

9.1

The CUSP will communicate frequently with fans, using whatever media channels it considers appropriate, in order to reach as much of the Cambridge United fanbase as possible.

9.2

The Club will set up and maintain a discreet section of its official website specifically to support and promote the CUSP.  This site will include, but should not be limited to:

  • an introduction to, and the background of, the CUSP;
  • names and contact details of each current CUSP member and their areas of lead responsibility;
  • details of upcoming CUSP meetings with the Club, including a copy of the agreed agenda; and
  • copies of the agreed minutes of all CUSP meetings.

9.3

 

The Club will allow the CUSP to publish regular articles in the official match day programme. 

9.4

 

Ahead of the CUSP elections the Club’s official website will host details of all candidates standing and information about the upcoming vote.

9.5

 

The CUSP will be free, if it chooses, to set up and maintain its own website, independent of the Club.  The CUSP will set up and maintain its own social media accounts, including (but not limited to) Twitter and Facebook. 

9.6

The CUSP will be free to make public statements concerning its work.  The CUSP will, however, copy Press Releases and other written statements to the Club at least 24 hours before they are made public. 

9.7

At the end of its first year and then annually the CUSP will publish a short annual report of its work, to document its key activities and achievements.

10

ACCOUNTABILITY

10.1

 

The CUSP will hold a separate Annual General Meeting (AGM) once a year, to which all fans will be invited.  Proposed changes to the CUSP constitution will be agreed at an AGM if they are supported by at least 75% of the fans present. 

10.2

 

Fans are able to call an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the CUSP if a petition signed by a minimum of 300 fans is presented to the CUSP Chair.  The EGM will be held within 30 days of receipt of a qualifying petition.

10.3

An EGM can call for the dissolution of the CUSP and for fresh elections to be held.  To be approved this will require the support of a minimum 75% of the fans present at the EGM. 

11

FUNDING

11.1

 

The CUSP should not incur any significant running costs (these should be limited to stationery, postage, printing etc). 

11.2

 

The CUSP is free to raise money to fund its operation and / or specific projects etc, as it sees fit.

12

BEHAVIOUR STANDARDS AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

12.1

 

The CUSP will require its members to adhere to the following values and behaviours at all times.  CUSP members will:

  • work as a team, to advance the consensus view of the CUSP and of the fans;
  • treat fellow CUSP members, fellow supporters, Directors and officials of the Club and everyone else with whom they have contact with respect and dignity; and
  • promote diversity and inclusiveness within the CUSP, the fanbase and the Club.

12.2

 

Any of the following behaviours will be regarded as unacceptable and will trigger disciplinary action against the CUSP member concerned:

  • Bullying or harassment;
  • Personal abuse;
  • Discrimination;
  • Disruptive behaviour;
  • Breach of confidentiality;
  • Pursuing a personal agenda, or otherwise working contrary to the aims and objectives of the CUSP and of the fans;
  • Any action that brings the CUSP or the Club into disrepute, including inappropriate use of personal social media;

12.3

 

Based on the above, any CUSP member that behaves unacceptably, in the view of a majority of CUSP members, will be suspended and subject to a disciplinary hearing. 

12.4

 

A disciplinary group appointed by the CUSP Chair (or by the Deputy Chair, if the Chair is the subject of the claim) and including one independent third party, will meet to consider whether the claim is founded.  If it is, the disciplinary group will consider what action should be taken against the member concerned – this could be a warning about their future behaviour or expulsion from the CUSP.  Length of service, previous behaviour and previous warnings will all be taken into account during a disciplinary hearing.  The disciplinary group’s decision will be final.