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Survey shows discrimination experienced by Disabled fans at Football matches

10 June 2022

Responding to a survey, hundreds of Disabled football fans have described how they have been subjected to offensive songs or chants, verbal abuse and other discriminatory behaviour when following their teams to away matches. The research was carried out by the charity Level Playing Field (LPF).

Of more than 600 Disabled fans who responded to the survey:

  • 43 per cent said they had been subjected to some form of abuse or negative attitudes at an away game in the last five years.
  • 26 per cent said they had been subjected to verbal abuse
  • 16 per cent had experienced disability-related offensive songs, chants or gestures.
  • 13 per cent said that "fear of disability abuse" was a barrier for them when attending away matches.

Disabled fans also raised concerns about the poor levels of staff disability awareness, inaccessible public transport, and general access barriers at stadiums.

Mikey Erhardt, Communications Officer at Get Yourself Active, said:

"These new findings from our friends at Level Playing Field paint a stark picture of the reality of the reality of being a sports fan as a Disabled person." 

In a month that has seen the governing bodies that run the "beautiful game" fail Disabled fans, it is clear that individual clubs also need to do more to support Disabled people's right to enjoy the world's favourite sport. 

We want to see changes made quickly, with stadium staff empowered to root out those who chant at or intimidate Disabled fans. We wish to see more training given to staff to understand the needs of Disabled fans, and more thought given to accessibility in the design of spaces and services."