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Manchester United Refuse To Sell Season Tickets To Disabled Fans, Claims Tanni Grey Thompson

July 15, 2014

 

Suddenly, I like Manchester United a lot less.

Manchester United turned disabled fans away from Old Trafford, claims Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

The 11-time Paralympic gold medallist called for the Government to do more to force Premier League clubs to cater for disabled supporters and pleaded with the Government to tackle the problem.

Her comments come after Mike Penning, the disabilities minister, said clubs needed to tackle a ‘woeful’ lack of facilities.

Baroness Grey-Thompson, an independent crossbench peer, said at question time in the House of Lords: “Certain Premier League football clubs such as Manchester United refuse to sell season tickets to disabled supporters and they only have 42% of the accessible seating that they should.

“At other clubs, it is impossible to buy one because of the lack of accessible seating.

“What steps are the Government taking to ensure fair ticketing for all spectators and fans?”

The claims come as Manchester United announced they have sold all 55,000 season tickets in record time – at the earliest point since the stadium was expanded to 76,000 fans in 2006.

The remaining 21,000 seats are used to accommodate away fans and supporters who want to attend individual matches.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble, answering for the Government, said: “The Equality Act prohibits discrimination against disabled people in provision of goods, facilities and services.”

He said the issue was ‘absolutely a fixture’ at Premier League meetings and called out ministers who ‘ought to know better and do better’.

He said: “The Government is committed to ensuring all spectators have enhanced and appropriate access to sporting venues and services and that professional sports clubs are aware of their responsibilities towards disabled spectators.”

A number of lords also hit back at the moneybags football clubs and urged them to do better to deal with the issue.

Labour’s Lord Faulkner of Worcester called for the law to be ‘properly enforced’ and said only three Premier League clubs complied with the number of disabled spaces they were required to provide.

Lord Gardiner said that Premier League football clubs had ‘very considerable means and they should be looking to do very much better’.

Labour’s Lord Foulkes of Cumnock said: “There is a country that is better than we are at access for disabled people, better at training young people in football, cheaper as far as access to the stadia are concerned, better in terms of all the facilities in the stadia, whose example we could well follow. That country is the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Lord Gardiner said there were ‘lessons to be learnt for many countries’ about the abilities of the German players who won the World Cup.

Pressed by Labour spokesman Lord Rosser on the need for further legislation, Lord Gardiner said ‘no one would rule it out’ if it became necessary.

But he said that legislation could be a ‘blunt instrument’.

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