Premier League clubs to improve access for disabled fans

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The BBC conducted an investigation back in 2014 on how easily disabled fans could access their favorite Premier League stadiums. The investigation found a whopping 17 of England's Premiership clubs didn't provide enough wheelchair spaces.

Presently, 15 out of the 20 top flight clubs will have to increase the number of spaces to adhere to new guidelines on stadium accessibility.

On Monday, a government report had condemned the Premier League clubs stating they had inadequate facilities and support for disabled fans in their stadiums.


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Minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson MP said "common sense can fix" some issues, but he didn't hold back when he told BBC Sport;

''Frankly, some of it is disgraceful, There isn't provision in some grounds, supporters are split up or are put in with the away fans. I find that totally unacceptable.

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"We are in the last chance saloon with those football bodies saying: 'You need to get your house in order.' We need to get this addressed."

The Report issued by the Government states;

  • Planning attendance: Clubs should provide attendance for all groups of disabled people.
    They should provide information such as stadium distance from local
    parking and gradient of pavements.
  • Buying a ticket: Clubs should allow disabled spectators to buy tickets online. They
    should provide wheelchair seating that allows disabled spectators to sit
    with family and friends.
  • Travelling to and from the venue: Clubs should provide up to date transport information.
  • Overall experience: Match day and club stewards should be given disability awareness
    training, while abusive behaviour towards disabled spectators should not
    be tolerated.
  • Aids and adaptations: Clubs should increase the number of wheelchair user places for stadiums with more than 10,000 seats.

The Premier League issued a statement shortly after stating:

"We are undertaking our own assessment by surveying every Premier League stadium to determine improvements for disabled access. Disability access was discussed at the Premier League shareholders meeting last week with several new proposals agreed."

Back in June, Premier League clubs were even threatened with legal action after Manchester United removed walking aids from fans at Old Trafford, the Equality and Human Right Commission claimed it had received numerous complaints from fans.

At the time, the Red Devils' defended the action by stating they were "actively working" with its own disabled supporters association and the Premier League to "assess areas for potential improvement".

A survey was carried out by charity Revitalise in August just before the start of the new Premier League season and it implied that many top flight clubs are continuing to fail disabled fans, and really should do better considering the amount of money in football in these current times.

Hopefully, disabled fans will be better provided for during their match day outings sooner rather than later.

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