Chesterfield have apologised after a raffle for a place at their training camp which sold just four tickets was won by a “falsified” entry.
Ashley Carson, the club’s director and company secretary, promised a “full review of communications and marketing procedures” and that disciplinary action “will be taken”, after a keen-eyed supporter spotted that the winner possibly did not exist.
The puzzling state of affairs occurred despite the League One club having stated that the competition had been won by Surrey-based James Higgins.
The club had even sent him a “get well soon” message, in a press release issued earlier this month, because Mr Higgins was apparently too ill to attend the training camp in Hungary.
Carson said that action was being taken after “a recent unsuccessful supporters’ competition and subsequent misleading outcome of the activity”.
In a statement, he said: “I have discovered that a winning entry was not legitimate and the information supplied to the club’s communications department had clearly been falsified with regards to the winner of a place at the pre-season training camp.
“Fortunately, no supporters have been affected financially or inconvenienced.
“However, the club has a zero-tolerance approach to such misleading activities and we remain committed to supporting our supporters on every level, which includes transparency and clear communications.”
Carson, who was personally tipped off by a supporter who had “concerns” about the competition, added: “Chesterfield Football Club apologises unreservedly to the four supporters who entered the competition and we can assure all supporters that following the internal review, disciplinary action will be taken.”
An earlier press release posted on the club’s site on July 14 read: “Spare a thought for Surrey-based Spireite James Higgins, who won the raffle for a couple of places on the club’s pre-season training camp in Hungary.
“James was due to fly out with the party last weekend, but illness prevented him from travelling. It was hoped that he and a friend would be able to travel a few days later in time to watch Wednesday’s practice match against Limassol, but he failed to recover in time.
“James, who is naturally very disappointed to have missed out on the trip, will be invited to a game during the forthcoming season as a guest of the club and be treated to hospitality.
“As a gesture of goodwill, all those who entered the raffle are entitled to a refund. Please contact the club to make the necessary arrangements.”