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CMS Committee ‘not convinced’ Premier League will sanction clubs failing disabled access guidelines

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The parliamentary committee that scrutinises British sport has claimed it is “not convinced” the Premier League will take suitable action against its clubs that fail to make their stadiums more accessible to disabled people.

As a result, the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee’s Accessibility of Sport Stadia report recommends that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) “start legal proceeding” against the Premier League clubs that don’t adhere to the Accessible Stadia Guide.

“The Premier League told us that it would consider imposing sanctions on clubs that fail to improve sufficient accessibility,” said the report.

“Given 20 years of comparative inactivity by the football leagues, we are not convinced that the Premier League would impose suitable penalties on clubs, even for failing to meet building regulations.”

The CMS Committee has presided over a number of evidence hearing about the state of sports stadiums for disabled supporters.

In 2015, the Premier League made the commitment that all 20 of its clubs would be compliant with the Accessible Stadia Guide by the start of the 2017/18 season.

But during a hearing with Level Playing Field chair Joyce Cook, the committee found out that at least eight clubs were not expected to complete agreed improvements by the deadline.

Cook said the situation was “worrying” and “obscene”.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch has also endorsed the use of legal action by the EHRC for clubs not adhering to the specifications.

Damian Collins, chair of the CMS Committee, said it was “especially disappointing” that “some of the rich clubs are not doing more”.

He added that not making stadiums fit for use for disabled people was a “reputational risk” for sports clubs and “one sponsors would have to take seriously”.

“Sports fans with disabilities are not asking for a large number of expensive changes – only to have their needs taken into account in the way sports stadia are designed and operated,” said Collins.

“It is high time that sports clubs, especially for example those with plenty of resources as in football’s Premier League, change their mindset. This isn’t really about money, it’s about the will to do it.”

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The parliamentary committee that scrutinises British sport has claimed it is “not convinced” the Premier League will take suitable action against its clubs that fail to make their stadiums more accessible to disabled people.
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Collins said it was 'high time' sports clubs with significant resources took action
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