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Disabled fans: Premier League clubs are 'discriminating'

Red

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33031858

Seems the clubs still aren't getting their acts together about this, it's unacceptable in this day.

One complaint sent to Level Playing Field via the Football Supporters Federation, and seen by BBC Sport, alleges that a number of disabled Arsenal fans, including a man in his 80s, had their walking sticks and crutches taken off them by Manchester United stewards at Old Trafford before their fixture on 17 March.
 

Christian Slater

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That article throws United under the bus when Old Trafford is one of the stadiums that meet the facilities' standards. It doesn't praise the other clubs doing it right or shame those that aren't.
 

Red

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It's ok to actually admit your club is at fault you know. It doesn't make you any less of a fan.I wasn't trying to single your team out mate, I don't think the report was either. I'd have cited it regardless of which club was involved and they cited it because it's probably the worst instance of it. It's all well and good talking about structural standards at OT, but the problem here seems to be one of the attitudes of their stewards.
 

Stevencc

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It's a good job they took the walking stick off of that man in his eighties. Can you imagine the utter carnage you could cause with a weapon like that? Especially when you are clearly in peak physical shape. It's a scary prospect.
 

Red

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Yeah, they don't allow umbrellas in at Chesterfield because they can be potentially used as a weapon. This was particularly distressing for a family of umbrellas that were turned away at a match I attended, The kids were inconsolable. United probably employ a third party to handle their stewarding and this might be the first they've heard of it. I'm sure they'll investigate and deal with it appropriately.
 

Christian Slater

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It's ok to actually admit your club is at fault you know. It doesn't make you any less of a fan.I wasn't trying to single your team out mate, I don't think the report was either. I'd have cited it regardless of which club was involved and they cited it because it's probably the worst instance of it. It's all well and good talking about structural standards at OT, but the problem here seems to be one of the attitudes of their stewards.

I criticise United and people associated with the club when I think it's deserved. The article is clearly using the club to sensationalise the story, which I think undermines it. Surely the article should be highlighting clubs that are failing disabled fans rather than an instance of a zealous steward at a match?
 

Red

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I agree it should have cited the failings of other clubs, most certainly they should be named and shamed. Did you read the article? It mentions Arsenal fans and United stewards. It wasn't one isolated incident involving one steward was it? Your trying to trivialise it as being such indicates that you think this is isn't much of an issue. If stewards denying fans walking aids isn't cause for criticism I wonder what you think is? Do you think if this had been Liverpool or city you'd have been so dismissive about it?
 

Christian Slater

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Apologies. Stewards, at one game.

But there's no agenda here, as you previously pointed out.

Edit - The fact you've edited in whether my opinion would differ, had the article used a club I don't like to achieve the same thing, heavily indicates your interest regarding this story is purely tribal.

I'd appreciate it if you'd show me the good manners not to assume my opinions are based on allegiances.
 
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Red

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There was an agenda for at least one game. The agenda was take away walking aids from disabled people. One game or every game it's wrong, unacceptable and shouldn't be tolerated or excused regardless of who the club is.
 

Christian Slater

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Are you trying to force an apology? I've offered my opinion and that's not enough. Are you part of that blame culture that seeks condemnation rather than discussion?
 

Christian Slater

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The article has evidently done its job. You're arguing about an idiotic decision at a single game rather than the bigger endemic.
 

Red

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The article has evidently done its job. You're arguing about an idiotic decision at a single game rather than the bigger endemic.
I think you're getting a bit paranoid if you think the intention of the article is in some way an anti United dig. I'm aware of the fact that it's happening elsewhere. I've already said as much and that they should be named and shamed too. I think saying it is endemic is an exaggeration too. Ok mate, you've made it abundantly clear you don't think United or the people who work for them shouldn't be criticised for their behaviour. It's probably that kind of approach which gives rise to the fact that in 2015 disabled people are still being discriminated against at football grounds.

More importantly though is what should be done to tackle this problem. Clearly employees need better training and there needs to be more thought put into modifying grounds.
 

Christian Slater

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I've never seen such a desperate attempt to drive a false narrative in an attempt to justify yourself.:bg1:

I'm not paranoid for pointing out a singular instance, which could have been any club and has no affect on the broader issue, is simply sensationalising at the expense of the actual issue.

I think people that fall for that and argue for it are the true enablers:2thumb:
 

Red

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I've never seen such a desperate attempt to drive a false narrative in an attempt to justify yourself.:bg1:

I'm not paranoid for pointing out a singular instance, which could have been any club and has no affect on the broader issue, is simply sensationalising at the expense of the actual issue.

I think people that fall for that and argue for it are the true enablers:2thumb:



Don't know what you're on about with the false narrative stuff mate. You're coming across as paranoid when you talk about 'the article has evidently done its job'. It smacks of the BBC being anti - United, so Farageesque :lol:. Why do you think I think you should apologise? You're not responsible for the behaviour of the stewards' discriminatory behaviour at your club, even if you can't bring yourself to condemn it because you can't get past what you perceive as being an anti United agenda. Don't let it cloud your judgment mate. Wherever this would have happened it wold have been wrong. If it helps you to understand that such behaviour is worthy of criticism try to pretend it happened at the Etihad :lol:.

Regarding justifying myself. I've pointed out that discrimination is happening at other clubs and that clubs need to improve training and stadium layouts. I don't see why I need to justify that. I just can't understand why you are seemingly unable or unwilling to criticise discriminatory practices at Old Trafford, but would rather push the anti-United narrative. Are you implying the BBC purposely set out to single United out? Had it been another club do you reckon they wouldn't have highlighted it? :lol: Come one mate, get real. Think you had a knee-jerk reaction because the report mentioned United . The very first thing you posted about this was something along the lines of it shoving United under a bus which pretty much sums it all up regarding your input. :)
 
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Christian Slater

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Essay - check

Heavy dose of smilies - check

Amateur political spin and rhetoric - check

The best bit was "you don't have to apologise but you won't condemn it."

I'm looking at the bigger picture and have even labelled the decision by United stewards as "idiotic", redundant as it is.

I never said United were "singled out", I claimed they were thrown under the bus even though the club has very good disabled facilities because it's a convenient way to sensationalise the story. The story for you seems to be a one of incident at one game and an argument with a United fan on a forum over your perception and incorrect assumption my argument is tribal. The opposite couldn't be more true.

My issue is why the article focuses on that single issue rather than the thirty-eight instances of neglect and discrimination across several clubs in the league and how the issue is to be solved.
 

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Shameless and disgusting club. Mind you, this is the club where people like Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs are called Legends.
 

Red

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Deary me, I thought you'd already come to realise it wasn't one incident. You never said United were singled out, but every single one of your posts smacks of it mate. Your first post mentioned nothing of merit apart from how United are thrown under a bus and the rest is just a continuation of that.
 

Christian Slater

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Deary me, I thought you'd already come to realise it wasn't one incident. You never said United were singled out, but every single one of your posts smacks of it mate. Your first post mentioned nothing of merit apart from how United are thrown under a bus and the rest is just a continuation of that.

One game wasn't it?

You've succumbed to arguing what I think and what my argument is. The truth is you're just the same as AdrianDurham, the only difference is his intentions are aggressive and yours are passive aggressive, although not too subtle. You'll probably fall back on "paranoid" again but the truth is I attempted to debate opinions while you swiftly pounced on blame and motive.

You're just a shit Peter Mandelson, improbable as it is.
 

Stevencc

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Red is obviously not trying to score points here, just raising a serious point that happens to have United as an example, but once AdrianDurham turns up it's game over in terms of serious debate.
 

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Are people still surprised when United are mentioned negatively in the media.....their people skills have been dreadful for 20-25 yrs
 

Red

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Clear difference between Steven, a sensible united and football fan and the paranoid, tribal, knee jerk Slater. You didn't try to debate opinions Slater, right from the outset your narrative was about United being picked on and it continued that way. Whatever you might think (re comparing me with Durham) regardless of which club this had been I'd have been disgusted by it and still would have quoted it because it's not about which club it is, it's about the fact that this thing is happening at any club in this day and age. For you though it was boo hoo stop picking on United. The sooner you get it out of your head that I was trying to make this some kind of anti-united thread the better. Now can we have a discussion about this without you adding nothing to the topic by bleating on about United being picked on?



How are these clubs getting around anti-discrimination legislation? Are they inspected by external bodies or are they left to their own devices?

I've tried to find out some more about reports on other clubs, but can't at the moment. Found this though.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is to write to Manchester United and football’s Premier League after Disability News Service (DNS) passed on concerns that disabled fans had had their mobility aids confiscated by stewards.


Staff at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground tried to stop several Arsenal fans – including one supporter in his 80s – from taking their seats because they were using walking sticks, which stewards claimed could be used as weapons.


They were visiting Britain’s richest football club to watch what was billed as one of the biggest matches of the season, on 17 May.


The stewards told the London club’s disabled supporters that they would not be allowed to watch the match because they had not alerted the club about their equipment in advance.


They claimed the fans could also pose a health and safety risk in the event of a stadium evacuation.


The disabled supporters were only allowed into the stadium to take their seats after the intervention of an officer from Greater Manchester police.


But after they had been escorted to their seats, their sticks were confiscated and held by stewards until the end of the match, on 17 May.


After DNS asked the EHRC to comment, it said today (Friday) that it was writing urgently to both Manchester United and the Premier League to raise concerns about the treatment of disabled fans. It warned that it had not ruled out legal action.



A police spokesman confirmed the incident had taken place and that the Arsenal fans had only been allowed into the stadium after the officer called the stadium control room to seek clarification of the ground regulations.


The spokesman said: “He was told if able, the supporters could use their walking aids to reach their seats and these would then be stored by stewards throughout the game and returned post match.”


But he declined to comment when asked if the force was comfortable with the club’s policy.


Manchester Utd has been repeatedly criticised for failing to provide the recommended number of spaces for wheelchair-users at Old Trafford.


It admitted last August that it only had 120 wheelchair (user) spaces, when official guidance states that there should be at least 280.


A Manchester Utd spokesman said: “Our club policy is to encourage any supporters who require the use of crutches or a walking aid to contact the club in advance to ensure each case is adequately risk assessed and that we can ensure safe evacuation in the event of emergency.


“On some rare occasions, we have also experienced such devices being used as weapons.


“This policy is displayed at the turnstiles and on our website. The disability liaison officers from both clubs also communicate this policy in advance.


“Where supporters arrive without having pre-notified us of the need for such devices, our stewarding team performs a dynamic risk assessment which usually involves finding a solution to accompany the supporter to their seat and storing the walking device during the game.


“At the game in question, a significant number of visiting supporters who had not pre-notified the club arrived with walking devices.


“Therefore the above system was put into place. No person was refused entry to the stadium.”


When asked whether the club would be apologising to the disabled fans, and whether it was concerned that it might have breached the Equality Act, the spokesman refused to comment further.


Speaking before the news emerged of the EHRC’s action, a spokesperson for Level Playing Field (LPF), the user-led organisation that works to improve access to sporting venues, said: “Manchester United is, by all accounts, the only Premier League club with this policy.


“LPF would always advise clubs not to confiscate walking aids (such as walking sticks or crutches) from disabled fans and believes that such a practice may even be deemed as discriminatory.”


Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief legal officer at the EHRC, told DNS: “Over the past months, we have received a number of complaints about provision for disabled fans at the Premier League.


“This has included discriminatory policies that prevent disabled fans having the same opportunities to attend football matches as non-disabled people.


“Complaints have been about disabled fans being prevented from obtaining season tickets, a lack of adequate space for wheelchair-users, and problems for families with young disabled children being unable to sit together to enjoy a game.


“Some of the most recent complaints have concerned Manchester United and the removal of walking aids from disabled away fans.


“We are writing to both the Premier League and to Manchester United today to seek urgent assurances that disabled fans will be treated fairly and equally as the law requires.


“We are also seeking urgent meetings with them to clear up the issues which have been identified and agree commitments to early progress.”


She added: “Premier League clubs have a legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure reasonable adjustment for disabled fans and to make sure they do not discriminate against them in the provision of goods and services.


“While our preference is always to work with organisations to avoid costly legal proceedings, all options remain on the table because disabled fans deserve better.”


A spokeswoman for the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) said: “We can’t comment on specific incidents at clubs as we don’t know the facts.”


But she added: “The SGSA believes disabled fans should be able to support their team and have access into sports grounds.”


She said the authority did not have the regulatory powers to take action against a club for anything other than breaching the rule that Premier League and Championship clubs have to be all-seater stadiums.


She added: “The SGSA’s aim is to ensure the safety of all spectators at sports grounds. We strongly promote accessibility at sports grounds and have created guidance that sets out the standards for accessible provision at stadiums.


“We are working with our partners at the Department for Culture Media and Sport and Level Playing Field to promote the importance of accessibility at sports grounds.


“We use our influence on safety advisory groups to promote accessibility and any other issues that we think need to be improved.”


But she added: “As it currently stands, it is down to the individual to take action against a club if they feel they have been discriminated against.”


An Arsenal spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear of the difficulties experienced by our disabled supporters and will be working closely with our travelling fans to avoid any similar situations next season.” He declined to comment further.


Ends.

http://www.levelplayingfield.org.uk/

They claimed the fans could also pose a health and safety risk in the event of a stadium evacuation. Unbelievable, this is a typical example of the medical model of disability still being used at the expense of the social model of disability.



But after they had been escorted to their seats, their sticks were confiscated and held by stewards until the end of the match, on 17 May. So what if they need to go to the toilet? Do they have to attract the attention of a steward so they can have their sticks brought to them? Humiliating.



“Our club policy is to encourage any supporters who require the use of crutches or a walking aid to contact the club in advance to ensure each case is adequately risk assessed and that we can ensure safe evacuation in the event of emergency.



“On some rare occasions, we have also experienced such devices being used as weapons. The key to any sensible risk assessment is taking a measured approach to assessing risk. Confiscating walking aids because on rare occasions they've been used as weapons is not the basis of a sensible risk assessment.
 
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Christian Slater

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Clear difference between Steven, a sensible united and football fan and the paranoid, tribal, knee jerk Slater. You didn't try to debate opinions Slater, right from the outset your narrative was about United being picked on and it continued that way. Whatever you might think (re comparing me with Durham) regardless of which club this had been I'd have been disgusted by it and still would have quoted it because it's not about which club it is, it's about the fact that this thing is happening at any club in this day and age. For you though it was boo hoo stop picking on United. The sooner you get it out of your head that I was trying to make this some kind of anti-united thread the better. Now can we have a discussion about this without you adding nothing to the topic by bleating on about United being picked on?

How are these clubs getting around anti-discrimination legislation? Are they inspected by external bodies or are they left to their own devices?

Right from the off I questioned why the clubs not meeting regulations are not being shamed and the ones that are praised. You decided to push the issue with me and United, obsessing that I condemn the offence when that wasn't what I was getting at. I would have said the same about any other club that was singled out to sensationalise an important story.

So now you've questioned my motives, called me paranoid, claimed my attitude is one that enables discrimination against the disabled ( low ) and now you're trying to make a comparison with another United fan in an attempt to portray me as unreasonable. It's you that pushed the pointless issue.

Now, moving on. It would be good if the media and FA would focus their attention on the most problematic areas and expose and fine those that are failing.
 

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Red

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Right from the off I questioned why the clubs not meeting regulations are not being shamed and the ones that are praised. You decided to push the issue with me and United, obsessing that I condemn the offence when that wasn't what I was getting at. I would have said the same about any other club that was singled out to sensationalise an important story.

So now you've questioned my motives, called me paranoid, claimed my attitude is one that enables discrimination against the disabled ( low ) and now you're trying to make a comparison with another United fan in an attempt to portray me as unreasonable. It's you that pushed the pointless issue.

Now, moving on. It would be good if the media and FA would focus their attention on the most problematic areas and expose and fine those that are failing.

Right from the off you were whining about United, stop pretending otherwise. Why do you think they're sensationalising it? I don't think you're really understanding what sensationalising is. If they'd been using terminology like 'bully boy United stewards', that would have been sensationalising, you know the kind of shit you get in the Mail when they're talking about asylum seekers eating swans etc. They highlighted the case of United, because it is a really bad example. Do you think it's unreasonable for people to know that this kind of thing is happening?
They didn't sensationalise it. I'm glad we're in agreement about moving on, as you can see from my posts above, I already did.
 

Red

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Bit of a tricky one regarding segregation. It makes sense to designate a particular area of the stadium to be designed for perfect accesibility. While I get his concern it isn't always going to be practical to seperate.

I guess part of the problem in terms of stadiums is that they were built ages ago when issues such as disabled access didn't even register. Still with all the money these clubs have they should be investing in doing more. It's good how United have raised areas for disabled supporters. More of that kind of thinking should be utilised.
 

Christian Slater

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Right from the off you were whining about United, stop pretending otherwise. Why do you think they're sensationalising it? I don't think you're really understanding what sensationalising is. If they'd been using terminology like 'bully boy United stewards', that would have been sensationalising, you know the kind of shit you get in the Mail when they're talking about asylum seekers eating swans etc. They highlighted the case of United, because it is a really bad example. Do you think it's unreasonable for people to know that this kind of thing is happening?
They didn't sensationalise it. I'm glad we're in agreement about moving on, as you can see from my posts above, I already did.

Move on for fuck's sake.
 
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Christian Slater

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I guess part of the problem in terms of stadiums is that they were built ages ago when issues such as disabled access didn't even register. Still with all the money these clubs have they should be investing in doing more.

I agree with that. One if the bigger issues there is where clubs allocate the away seats. You can't situate disabled fans in the upper tears or in tight corners like many do. They have to be in an area that's safe to enter and exit.
 

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