Norwich City Football Club –
NB: See positive response from the club - Click here
Safety and Viewing Issues at the away end of the Carrow Road Stadium
In September 2015, the 20 Premier League clubs unanimously agreed a resolution to comply with the guidance contained in “Accessible Stadia, Facilities for Disabled Fans” by the beginning of Season 2017/18. Norwich was one of those clubs.
All clubs had a two year period to satisfy that commitment. Such a period, it was clarified by the Premier League, could be split if they were promoted, relegated and then returned to the Premier League. Two clubs, Norwich and Aston Villa have completed this loop, trousering £165m * in parachute payments in the process, and must be compliant by the beginning of the 2020 / 2021 season.
Fulham has gone through this loop, have received over £96m* via parachute payments – now in the Championship and not compliant!
The view of the Disability Advisory Group is that clubs that have exhausted their two year period, collected tens of millions in parachute payments without becoming compliant, must not be allowed to return to the Premier League – they have had the money and the time! Probably not realistic , but maybe the EHRC or Politicians have the power!
Perhaps a more achievable alternative being that Premier League clubs relegated in the future should be subjected to an extensive Accessible Stadia Guideline commitment audit and if found deficient, the outstanding compliance work should be costed and this sum “ring fenced” and withheld from their parachute payments pending completion of the work.
Just as their two year period is about to elapse, Norwich City are poised to present to the Premier League their plans to meet the commitment they made in 2015.
Had the required ASG changes been promptly implemented the safety incidents below may well have been avoided. At present we believe the risks to away disabled fans exist and emergency changes need to be made.
DAG considers the minimum and immediate change should be to net off row 4 – see photo at the end of the report, remove the seats completely in rows 2 and 3 and have the stewards stand in the gap created behind the disabled supporters and in the gangways thereby giving them a degree of protection.
Just a barrier behind the disabled seating would be a big safety improvement. Inexpensive, quick and easy to install.
David J Butler FCA MBE
Chair - Premier League Disability Advisory Group
Letter from Dr Peter Corbett whose mother was injured at this game.
Norwich City v Wolves/Away Wheelchair section. - 21st December 2019
To All Whom It May Concern,
I am writing to express significant concerns regarding the safety and well-being of visiting disabled supporters at Carrow Road, Norwich. This is in response to an incident in the 81st minute of the game between Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday 21st December 2019.
I travelled to this game with my mother (Linda Corbett), who is physically disabled and mobilises with the aid of a motorised wheelchair, as well as two gentleman who have learning difficulties. My father and I acted as carers for these supporters, along with a close friend. My mother and father were seated at the front of the away seating area, which was noticeably very cramped with little room to move around. This area was not sectioned off from the remainder of the stand, meaning non-disabled supporters from the adjoining seating block were allowed to continually enter the area, worsening the congestion around the disabled supporters. The remainder of our group were seated separately in row B, two rows behind.
During the celebration of a Wolves goal, a number of fans stormed down the stairs to the front of the stand, and one fan was removed by stewards. They struggled to contain this fan and began repeatedly pushing him toward the corner of the ground, through the area where disabled fans were situated. I witnessed a steward wearing number 145, push this fan forcefully in the direction of my mother, leading him to fall over another supporter's guide dog and collide heavily with my mother. My mother was knocked out of her chair onto the floor, sustaining significant bruising to her face and chest, and severely exacerbating her chronic complex pain, thus worsening her already poor mobility. She will be in severe pain for many weeks as a result and is lucky to have not sustained more serious neurological or orthopaedic injuries. In addition, her glasses and dentures were knocked onto the ground and damaged during the incident, and these will require repair at a considerable cost to my mother.
This was extremely upsetting to experience, and I rushed down to the area to help paramedics and my father tend to my mother, eventually getting her back into her chair. We were then taken out of the crowd for further medical attention, leaving our one remaining carer with two learning disabled supporters, who were both understandably distressed by the incident. We missed the remainder of the game as a result, and my mother is left considering whether she feels safe when visiting other Premier League football grounds as a visiting supporter in the future.
I am of the strong opinion that the existing facilities provided to disabled supporters visiting Carrow Road are inadequate and dangerous. It is easy to see how such a severe incident could take place as a result, and unfortunately due to the ill-advised and heavy-handed actions of multiple stewards, it did! I am therefore requesting your thoughts and response regarding this incident, as well as a clear and detailed commitment from all involved to ensuring such a distressing and dangerous incident does not occur again.
Dr Peter Corbett
On behalf of Mrs Linda Corbett, Mr James Corbett, Miss Kathryn Stewart
(Note: two other individuals were not named as they do not have capacity to consent to the sharing of their personal information)
Note from Steve Daniels DSA Chair Wolves
Please find my report on the game that I attended on Saturday at Norwich City. I could not believe what I have witnessed. I would strongly recommend that away wheelchair users should not attend that ground until all the changes that the PLDAG have recommended are implemented. I am not sure that putting some kind of messing behind the wheelchair bays will work. It needs a safety barrier, plus a steward should be based at the end of every row.
I will forward photos and the video to you. I will also keep you updated on the person injuries when I hear from them.
Steve’s Report –
I meet up with Stephen Graham Norwich DLO at the Holiday Inn which is on the ground at 12pm as we had planned. We then proceeded to go to the away section to look at where the wheelchairs are stationed. He told me that behind were the wheelchair’s were the two rows behind were being sealed of so no one could sit there, he also told me that at the start of every row there would be a steward so no one could come out of there seat and run to the front for any reason. I was introduced to the supervisor who was responsible for the area where we were sat, his name was Dave. Stephen also told me that there would be no stewards blocking the view in front of us. He also informed me that all the stewards had been briefed of this this morning that were operating in that area. Stephen said he would meet me at halftime to see how things were. Our meeting ended at 12;30pm.
I got to where I was being seated at 2;30pm to find that there was nothing sealed off behind us so we had supporters sat right behind us, as far as I could see there were no stewards stationed at the end of each row. I asked a steward if I could see there supervisor who I had meet with earlier to discuss why what Stephen had told me had not been implemented. The steward in question I asked if anything had been discussed about stewards standing at the end of the row and the reply was no. The supervisor came to see me and I put the question to him of why the rows were not sealed of behind the wheelchair bays, is reply was “it was never discussed with us about not having fans in those seats behind, he said as far as he was concerned they seats had been sold as usual.. I mentioned to him that there was an incident a few months ago when someone was hurt by fans surging over them from behind in those seats, again his reply was that he was well aware of that incident and that would not happen again.
Halftime came and the visit that Stephen said he would come and see me did not happen.
In the 81st minute of the game Wolves scored a goal a supporter from behind were the wheelchairs were based jumped out of his seat and ran to the front knocking over a person in a wheelchair the person came out the wheelchair and landed on a guide dog who was with a person who his partly sighted stewards ran to the seen as did fellow supporters to assist them (the spectator was escorted out) I did my best to get some video coverage of the incident which I have done (it’s not the best due to people in front of me) the person was finally put back in there wheelchair very distressed and was crying.
The person was then taken out of the concourse by paramedics to be treated. I spoke to the person a little latter who I know and they had received a blow to therefore head which had in deed broken there glasses and was clearly in a very distressed state. Fortunately her son who was with her is a doctor who told me that he thinks she may well have broken her cheek bone.
I have to conclude that in attending football matches for over 57 years I have never witnessed anything like this before, clearly everything that I was told by their DLO was never going to happen or planned to happen and they have not learned from the previous incident that had happened.
The DLO was right about one thing the stewards did not stand in front of us.
I also have to conclude that this is a serious breach of health and safety rules, and no wheelchair user should sit in that area until everything that the PLDAG have asked to be implemented, then someone should go and inspect what they have done before it is opened to wheelchair users because a fatality could easily happen. I will also add that the concourse where the wheelchairs are placed is simply not wide enough. Also stewards constantly walk in front of you throughout the game. And the sight line for viewing is shocking; to have to pay £27 for that view is nothing short of scandalous.
I have just had this from one of our members that were right by were the incident occurred. Changes the game a little I think.
I should have said there is no way I would go back to Norwich to give them another chance, action needs to be taken now.
It was actually the stewards that caused the issue on Saturday. The supporter was further down and came to the front to celebrate. The 4 or 5 stewards took exception to this and man handled him across the wheelchair area to throw him out. Their haste in trying to get him out caused the issue with bumping into Lyn as I was right next to her. The chief steward was there after the incident and said they should have taken the supporter up through the stand and not along the front, where the wheelchairs were.
Sheffield United Visit - 8th December 2019
We all complained at the view as the wheelchairs are low down. You are actually looking at the players legs.
We also got wet through as we had heavy rain.
The main moan was the amount of stewards constantly walking through in front of us.
The empty seats were sold to non disabled supporters so when any action on pitch they stood in front.
10mins before final whistle stewards go pitch side and block the view. I have attached a couple of photos.
I forgot to mention in my previous email that supporters climb over the wheelchairs to stand at the front and the stewards do nothing about it. When a goal is scored they run down the steps to the front too. It doesn't help when non disabled are sold tickets for the spaces in the wheelchair area.
Suggest a gate on the steps and a barrier behind the wheelchairs.
Janet Ireland - SUDS