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Criticism Of Liverpool Football Fans In Wheelchairs Is Disappointing, Say Charities

April 18, 2016

Leading disability charities have criticised comments on social media that wheelchair-using Liverpool FC fans are “benefits cheats”.

The accusations started after a clip was circulated online which appears to show fans in wheelchairs leaping to their feet in celebration.

People on social media described the sight as a “miracle”.

“It’s disappointing to see assumptions being made about these fans,” Elliot Dunster from the charity Scope says.

“Sadly it’s all too common – a third of disabled people tell us that they have been accused of not really being disabled.

“This shows we still have a long way to go to change attitudes towards disability and ensure people better understand the issues disabled peop face.”

Some people have pointed out that wheelchair are often accompanied by friends and family who may not have a physical disability.

“It’s exactly this sort of response that fuels misconceptions about disability,” a spokesperson for Whizz-Kidz, which supports disabled children and young people, tells Newsbeat.

“Being a wheelchair user doesn’t mean that a person is ‘paralysed’, and many people live with conditions that mean they need a wheelchair to get around, but they can stand or walk short distances,” a spokesperson for Whizz-Kidz, says.

“Disabled people have the same rights as anyone else to enjoy sport – whether as a participant or a spectator – without coming under scrutiny for how they are able to celebrate when their team is successful.”

Liverpool FC have yet to respond to a request for a comment.

Anfield was playing host to Borussia Dortmund for the Europa League quarter-final match when the clip was picked up.

Liverpool secured a dramatic 4-3 victory, with the final goal scored during injury time sending them through to the semi-finals, where they will meet Villarreal.

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