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Accessibility is key to active participation at sport stadia

The CMS select committee inquiry raised the issue of sports stadia accessibility - a matter that effects all sport and recreation organisations that work together with clubs and stadiums. Lord Holmes of Richmond, who gave evidence at the inquiry, explains more about the guidance that is available and the current situation in football clubs across the country: 

"On October 18 I gave evidence to the Culture Media and Sport select committee’s inquiry into the accessibility of Premier League football grounds.  This follows much work, by many Parliamentarians, across both Houses, to attempt to bring football, in inclusion terms, into the 21st Century.

Last year, Lord Faulkner of Worcester Accessible Sports Grounds Bill was a significant attempt to highlight and resolve the matter. 

At second reading, there was support across the House of Lords for what the Bill was seeking to achieve; reasonable access for disabled spectators to sports grounds, including those of football’s Premier League.  I was delighted to take part in the debate on the Bill.

It was an excellent Bill, a straightforward Bill. A Bill which demonstrates many things, not least Lord Faulkner of Worcester’s long standing support for those who simply want to access sport.

The mechanism for achieving this aim was simple, that clubs failing to meet the minimum guidelines would not be licenced with a safety certificate and so be unable to stage matches.  

Unfortunately the Government felt unable to support Lord Faulkner’s Bill but efforts seemed not to have been totally in vain when in September last year the Premier League announced that by the summer of 2017 all grounds would meet accessibility guidelines.

Just three of the 20 Premier League stadiums currently reach recommended spaces for wheelchair users. The Football Task Force, of which the Premier League was a part, said in 1998 that the recommended number of accessible spaces should apply to all grounds and these guidelines were then also outlined in the 2003 Accessible Stadia guide for new stadiums."

See full article here