English Premier League football club Chelsea has announced that it is to increase the provision and quality of wheelchair spaces for disabled fans at its Stamford Bridge home stadium.
The club will install an additional 219 wheelchair spaces at the venue, with some of these to be available this season and the remaining to open ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
Chelsea worked with both the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Chelsea Disabled Supporters Association on the initiative, which will lead to a reduction of 800 seat in overall capacity in order to make room for the new spaces.
Any season ticket holders affected or displaced by the works will be notified and given first option on relocating their seats for next season.
“Our fans are at the heart of our club and efforts to improve facilities and experiences for all supporters, including disabled fans, are made season on season at Stamford Bridge,” Chelsea said in a statement.
“The club recognises the need to improve the access to and experience within the stadium for disabled supporters, allowing for greater choice in the location and elevation of seating, as well as a greater number of accessible toilet facilities.
“The club will also be reviewing our ticketing policies for disabled supporters ahead of the 2018/19 campaign with new seating added to our matchday sales and advertised online through our existing media channels.”
The move come after Chelsea was named as one of four clubs that failed to meet a deadline set by the Premier League to install more wheelchair spaces for fans at its stadium.
Clubs had been required to make amendments in time for the 2017-18 season, under the Accessible Stadia Guide (ASG) scheme, but Chelsea, as well as Crystal Palace, Everton and Watford, did not meet the deadline.