In September 2015, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to improve their disabled access provisions, committing to meet the Accessible Stadia Guide (ASG) by August 2017.
The ASG is an advisory document offering guidance on how to meet the obligations of the Equalities Act (2010), which requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments so that disabled people can access their facilities.
Premier League clubs have embarked on a substantial programme of work and rapid progress has been made. The improvements undertaken are unprecedented in scope, scale and timing by any group of sports grounds or other entertainment venues in the UK.
The interim report submitted to EHRC, DWP and DCMS provides an update on the work done up to December 2016, and details the considerable improvements that have been delivered.
What is clear from the interim report is that clubs are committed to building on the long tradition of disabled fans being welcome at football grounds while recognising that there was, and is, more work to be done.
Given the differing ages and nature of stadia, some clubs have, and continue to face, significant built environment challenges.
"Clubs deserve credit for committing to and delivering the extensive work detailed in this interim report"
For those clubs cost is not a determining factor. They are working through issues relating to planning, how to deal with new stadium development plans, how to best manage fan disruption or, in cases where clubs don’t own their own grounds, dealing with third parties.
Clubs deserve credit for committing to and delivering the extensive work detailed in this interim report.
What is also clear is that even more progress will be achieved in creating the appropriate levels of access for disabled football fans, as envisaged by the ASG and EHRC, by our own deadline of August 2017.
Beyond that date clubs will continue to engage with their disabled fans and enhance their provisions in the coming months, years and beyond.