Regular readers will be all too aware that I'm a massive Arsenal fan and during the season (which thankfully kicks-off again this weekend), I follow my beloved team around the country. I've even been lucky enough to attend matches in Dortmund and Brussels in the recent past. Away days are brilliant but I have realised that the majority of grounds treat disabled supporters as second-class citizens and something needs to be done. This prompted me to take notes of every stadium I visited last season and compile a strongly worded letter, which I sent to the Premier League back in early June. If you would like to read the letter in full, please read this edition of FCBusiness https://cloud.3dissue.com/6374/7271/16420/FCBusiness86/html5/index.html?page=1 and turn to page 35.
I have had a couple of replies from the Premier League; one asking if it was OK to forward the letter to the relevant clubs and hear what they have to say (it was a pointless exercise though as only Arsenal responded directly to me) and a more detailed e-mail speaking about how the Premier League run training programmes about inclusivity and have Access Visits where staff are told how to improve the match-day experience for impaired visitors. They also mentioned an Access App that tells you what facilities are available at each stadium. Basically a load of PR guff aimed to shut me up and show that the PL do care about disabled fans. However, I do not give up that easily.
That's why I have replied demanding that the Premier League step up and show the 20 clubs under their jurisdiction who's in charge. I feel they should force teams to improve facilities for disabled supporters and punish those who don't comply; instead of politely requesting a better service for the disabled. I have also been in conversation with the office for Shadow Secretary of Culture, Media and Sport who seem very interested by my findings and are going to be running a story on the subject later in the week. They also said some media outlets might be interested so watch this space.
Bye for now!