Assessment and suggested revision of the Accessible Stadia Guidelines  
Disabled Accessibility Draft Document -  Introduction to this project

It is now more than twenty years since the first guidance documents detailing the provision of facilities for spectators with disabilities were published, and twelve years since Accessible Stadia was produced. Much has happened since then in terms of culture change, legislation and demographics, but what remains the same is that sports grounds should be inclusive and accessible to all spectators. Attending sporting activities is an integral and vital part of our culture and tradition, and no one should be excluded on grounds of disability.

Above is the original introductory text from the publication “Accessible Stadia Supplementary Guidance August 2015” stating an objective, which we wholeheartedly endorse, of endeavouring to deliver to disabled spectators, high quality facilities and services that are accessible, inclusive and welcoming for all.

The information contained in this publication is intended to bring together the disability related components from a number of documents - “Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds – Sixth Edition” , “Accessible Stadia - Supplementary guidance August 2015” and the Premier League “Ticketing and Matchday Guidance 2018” - and offer suggestions as to how to further improve, clarify and enhance the current guidance for the benefit of both home and away disabled spectators.

The invaluable knowledge and experience of the Chairs of sixteen Disability Supporters Associations, who comprise the Premier League Disability Advisory Group, has been embodied in this document.  

This Group, who directly represents a large proportion of disabled football spectators who attend Premier League matches, feel that greater scrutiny of current ASG implementation is essential.

The Equality Act 2010 places an evolving and anticipatory duty on service providers and, given an aging population, a renewed emphasis is crucial to more fully support and embrace the widest spectrum of disability in the future.

The document is primarily aimed at football stadia but we believe that much of the changes and improvements suggested could equally be advantageously applied to other sports stadia.

David J Butler FCA MBE
Chairman - Premier League Disability Advisory Group

To view the initial draft click here.  

Our objective is to enhance delivery to all disabled spectators of high quality facilities and services with an emphasis on improvements for ambulant supporters in particular and away fans in general. 

Timescale: Not yet defined.

 Exercise by questionnaire to assess Away disabled facilities

This questionnaire has been created for each club's own DSA members covering the four main  disabilities  - wheelchair users, ambulant disabled, Visual and hearing impairment -  to complete when visiting an away stadium.

In this way we will have an unbiased and practical assessment of the disabled facilities of each stadium’s away section.

Our objective is to identify best practice and highlight inadequacies for improvement.

Timescale: As many Premier League clubs are, during the 2018 summer break making significant stadium improvements to meet the Accessible Stadia Guidelines, testing of the questionnaire and the associated database will be undertaken for the last few matches of the 2017 - 2018 season in preparation for a full assessment during the 2018 - 2019 season.

Surveys - Click on links below

NB There is a Test Survey in the above section to review the questions and practice input.


Assessment of the adequacy of ticketing communication relating to away disabled supporters.

Investigation to consider the various different ways the ticket offices communicate ticketing information with regard to the number of wheelchair and ambulant spaces and exactly where they are and the accessibility. Also the visual and hearing impairment facilities and how to utilise.  

Devise a check list of information required for each category  - example - ambulant supporters need detailed information e.g. location/position of hand rails, number of steps, distance from toilets, refreshments etc.

Having received this detailed information the away ticket office will be able to assist correct allocation dependent upon mobility or other limitations of the supporter.

Our objective is to ensure all disabled supporters attending an away game have all the data they need before arriving at the Stadium to avoid unnecessary surprises.

Timescale: Best practice to be identified and communicated with examples to all club ticket offices before the beginning of the 2018 - 19 season.

Recording the utilisation of disabled facilities 

Establish a standard recording methodology to monitor the use of the disabled facilities both for home and away supporters for each club plus identifying any unsatisfied demand.

Objective: Statistics recorded over many seasons should project a trend as to the changing of both the utilization of facilities and the future requirements of disabled supporters.

Timescale: Initially in use for the whole of the 2018-2019 season.


Personnel Assistants - Safety and Stadium Insurance Issues

The Premier League has recently provided updated matchday guidance to clubs which includes consideration of the issues raised by DAG below.


Clubs cannot require disabled supporters to be accompanied by a PA (and as noted above, many disabled supporters will not need to be accompanied by a PA), but they may encourage this where appropriate – e.g. by making disabled supporters aware of the free PA ticket policy. 


It is sometimes proposed by disabled people that children act as a PA.  Providing that the child is indeed giving assistance to the disabled person to allow them to attend, and is capable of fulfilling the role and responsibilities of a PA, the club should permit the child to act as a PA.  Accordingly, clubs should not seek to impose a minimum age for PAs, but rather should treat each situation on its own merits. 


In addition, other disabled people may potentially act as PAs for disabled supporters.


In summary, subject to any genuine evidence-based safety considerations, the PL believe that it would be potentially unlawful to require a disabled person to bring a PA. 


Of course, PAs support disabled people in a variety of ways but when it comes to emergencies, we would expect stewards to also provide some assistance.  Equally, providing that s/he can fulfil the role (which is a question of fact on a case by case basis), we also consider that a child or another disabled person may act as a PA.  Obviously, the younger the child the less likely they could fulfil the role but we consider that any fixed minimum age would essentially be arbitrary. 


Separately, prescribing people with certain impairments from acting as a PA would almost certainly constitute unlawful direct discrimination.    The guidance does expect clubs to take a pragmatic view about the ability of the PA to assist (having regard to age, impairment and anything else).  


Identify the factors to take into account to make well judged, defendable decisions with the safety of the disabled supporter and of the personal assistant being paramount.

Gain legal opinion, response from EHRC and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority.

Collate  relevant insurance company conditions imposed across the PL.

Timescale: Not yet defined