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Football Access For Disabled Fans Must Improve

April 12, 2014

Football clubs across Britain must urgently redress the “woeful” lack of facilities for disabled fans at many stadiums, says a government minister.

Mike Penning, the disabilities minister, has written to every professional club in the country to highlight their legal obligations.

“I’m blowing the whistle on discrimination against disabled people by football bosses,” said Mr Penning.

He wants to meet Football Association chairman Greg Dyke about the issue.

A BBC report last month revealed that only three Premier League stadiums provide the required number of wheelchair spaces.

Mr Penning said a complete overhaul of grounds was required, “starting at the very top”.

He added: “The situation is currently woefully inadequate and it is not only wheelchair access that falls short, but access for people with all kinds of impairments.”

Joyce Cook, chair of Level Playing Field,  formerly known as the National Association of Disabled Supporters, said: “The experience of disabled football fans varies across the country. That’s not acceptable and it’s time all football clubs took their legal obligations seriously.”

Guidelines on how football clubs in the UK should cater for disabled spectators have been in place since 2004.

The Accessible Stadia Guide  sets out minimum standards that all new grounds have to meet in the provision, location, and quality of facilities for disabled fans. The number of wheelchair spaces a stadium should provide is based on its capacity.

Since the implementation of the Equality Act in 2010, and legislation dating back to 1995, it has been illegal for service providers, including football clubs, to treat disabled people less favourably than other customers.

Clubs can be ordered to make reasonable adjustments, which can include providing induction loops for those with hearing impairments, audio-description facilities for those with sight impairments and free tickets for carers who accompany disabled fans at games.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2014 2:34 pm

    What about Rugby Clubs particularly those in Wales ?

  2. jefffrey davies permalink
    April 12, 2014 7:30 pm

    “I’m blowing the whistle on discrimination against disabled people by football bosses,” said Mr Penning. whot about targeting those you say you are helping with this filling out reports may we don’t want easy axes but help helping to football well how go there are more waiting for their target of pip esa nay sport atleast isn’t on their minds jeff3

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