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Are Football Clubs Failing Their Disabled Fans?


Football clubs in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire are not providing enough for wheelchair users, a recent BBC study has found. 

A number of clubs, including Sheffield United, who have 91 fewer seats than the recommended amount at their Bramall Lane ruralblog_2320-1 ground, are failing to perform in the amenities they offer disabled supporters.

Non-compulsory guidelines on what clubs should be providing disabled fans were created in 2004.

The government’s own guidelines, The Accessible Stadia Guide, states the minimum standard expected of newly-constructed grounds when meeting the provision, location, and quality of facilities for disabled fans.

Clubs not in newly built grounds are expected to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure access to their services is available to every visitor.

Other Yorkshire based sides to fall short in their services to disabled fans includes Leeds United, who had 57 seats fewer than the recommended amount, Bradford City, who are 40 seats under, and Hull City (18).

However, Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United were Yorkshire’s shining lights as both have 10 more seats for disabled supporters than required.

In September, Premier League clubs agreed to enhance the access they offer to disabled supporters by the start of the 2017/2018 season after criticism from the government over inadequate facilities and support at their grounds.

Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, said that increasing the number of seats was amongst the areas to improve. He said “A disability shouldn’t be a barrier to attending sporting events.”

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