The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has hit out at a number of leading English football clubs over the lack of disabled access at their respective stadia.
Premier League teams Manchester United and Crystal Palace, as well as Hull City of the Championship and Sunderland, which was recently relegated to League One, are the focus of the criticism.
According to Sky Sports, the EHRC said that while the clubs have made progress on disabled access, they all currently fail to meet legal requirements and have so far declined the offer of support from the EHRC.
In a new report entitled ‘The State of Play: progress on accessibility at Premier League clubs’, the EHRC looks at the 23 teams that have played in the top-tier Premier League during the past two years.
The EHRC praises the efforts of Chelsea, which has made a number of changes to its Stamford Bridge home in order to comply with requirements by the start of the 2018-19 season.
In addition both Burnley and Watford have made informal agreements to make similar improvements over the course of the next campaign.
The EHRC said of the 20 clubs that competed in the Premier League during the 2016-17 campaign, 17 now provide a sufficient number of “amenity and easy access seats” for disabled fans not in wheelchairs, up from just eight club one year ago.
However, while other improvements have included larger toilet facilities and sensory rooms for fans with autism or other sensory impairments, the EHRC said such changes only come after it threatened legal action under the Equality Act.
The Act states venues that fail to make “reasonable adjustments” for disabled visitors could be found guilty of “unlawful discrimination”.
Image: Abhijit Tembhekar