Belfast Telegraph

Premier League hails improvements to disabled access

Premier League clubs have completed an "unprecedented" improvement in disabled access since 2015 but eight top-flight clubs still are still working towards targets.

Since a unanimous commitment was made in September 2015 to prioritise the issue and meet the Accessible Stadia Guide's standards in time for the current season, just over 1,000 new wheelchair bays have been created.

Most of those are split among the 16 clubs which have been in the Premier League for each of the past three seasons, 12 of whom have now met the full ASG targets.

Chelsea, Everton, Crystal Palace and Watford are the continuous members who are still working on delivery, while Burnley, Newcastle, Huddersfield and Brighton all have extra time to build provisions having been promoted during the period.

The progress report also notes an increase in disabled parking bays, up to six per cent of the total available, five clubs with permanent sensory rooms and a variety of bespoke initiatives including lowered catering counters and audio loops.

Premier League executive director Bill Bush said: "Clubs have delivered substantial work to improve disabled access for their fans. The scale and scope of what has been undertaken across the Premier League is unprecedented in any other sport or entertainment sector.

"For clubs to have delivered more than 1,000 new wheelchair bays for fans, and the widespread installation of Changing Places facilities, shows how seriously they have taken this commitment.

"The two-year period to complete the work was a deliberately challenging target. Some clubs, particularly those with very old stadiums, have found significant built-environment challenges. For those clubs, money has not been the determining factor but disruption to fans and matchday operations means more time is required.

"This report provides details of the progress made at a point in time. It is not the end of the process - all clubs will continue improving their disabled access provisions, engaging with disabled supporters, and working with stakeholders for years to come to ensure their stadiums are accessible and welcoming to all."

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