THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Clubs are not even sticking to the most basic pledge on better facilities for disabled fans and the issue is more complex than silly adding wheelchair spaces

6 October ~ Nearly one third of Premier League clubs are expected to fail in their pledge to improve access for disabled fans by August 2017. The commitment was made to comply with the 2003 Accessible Stadia Guide and was aimed at increasing the number of wheelchair spaces at each stadium while also improving the view for disabled supporters. However, it looks like many of those most basic targets will be missed, and there are much more complex issues around disabled access.

As Paul Kitchen points out on Football Collective blog: “For many years a number of Disability Supporters’ Groups and advocacy organisations (like Level Playing Field, the Centre for Access to Football in Europe) have been campaigning for those that run the sport to do more to cater for the sheer diversity of disability.

“While the pledge would make a very good start, at its core this issue focuses mainly on the quantity of accessibility primarily for those with physical disabilities. While these spaces require good lines of sight, something that needs to consider that some fans stand up during a game.

“The experience of disability is of course more diverse than just wheelchair users, if we fail to understand this then we will focus too much on physical accessibility.  As a place to start it might be the best barrier to overcome, however it is only part of the picture.”

You can read more about research into disabled fans’ experiences at matched on the Football Collective site here.

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