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Premier League clubs face September investigation if disabled access not sufficient

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The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has earmarked a September date for a formal investigation of Premier League clubs that haven’t sufficiently improved the disabled access at their home stadiums.

All 20 clubs in the English top flight are expected to adhere to Accessible Stadia Guide requirements relating to proportion of wheelchair spaces and access for people with other disabilities by the start of the 2017/18 seasons.

However, the EHRC’s latest report – The State of Play: How Accessible is Your Club? – confirmed suspicions that a number of Premier League clubs weren’t currently compliant, with several unlikely to be by the deadline.

According to the document, Arsenal and Liverpool failed to provide the minimum number of wheelchair spaces, Bournemouth and Swansea were without larger, fully equipped toilets, while West Ham lacked a published access statement for disabled fans.

Chelsea, Everton, Sunderland, Tottenham, Watford and West Brom lacked both wheelchair spaces and accessible toilets, while Manchester United didn’t have the required number of wheelchair spaces or an access statement.

Middlesbrough lacked larger toilets and an access statement. Burnley, Crystal Palace, Hull City and Stoke City failed with all three requirements.

Worrying, the EHRC indicated that a number of clubs were “unable to provide a detailed answer” to their questions, “indicating that these issues may never have been discussed at board level”.

“We hope that at the beginning of September 2017 all the clubs will have provided us with evidence to demonstrate how they have met their legal obligations, or with have reached an agreement with us as to how they will meet their obligations in the future,” said the EHRC within the report.

“However, if following our dialogue with the clubs and the information gathered from disabled fans we continue to suspect that a club or clubs are not complying with their legal obligations, we will commence a formal investigation into a name club or clubs.

“We are committed to starting that investigation in September 2017.”

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The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has earmarked a September date for a formal investigation of Premier League clubs that haven’t sufficiently improved the disabled access at their home stadiums.
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