English Premier League soccer side Manchester City has been given the Centre of Excellence Award by Level Playing Field (LPF) in recognition of its accessible facilities and services at the Etihad Stadium.
The award, which acknowledges sporting venues that demonstrate the highest access and inclusion standards in accommodating disabled supporters and visitors on match and non-matchdays, has only been presented to five soccer stadia in the UK to date.
To qualify for the award, Manchester City underwent a professional access audit and demonstrated good practice standards, equality and access legislation and guidance for accessible sports stadia.
The Premier League side’s accessibility initiatives include audio commentary which provides a specific service for blind and partially sighted supporters; changing places facilities with shower provision; winter packs with handwarmers and foil ponchos; as well as a shuttle service for those who require assistance from parking lots to the stadium.
Over the course of this season, the club has also introduced online ticketing for disabled supporters as well as a series of face to face meetings with club staff on a matchday titled ‘Meet the Access Team’, where supporters can ask questions, provide feedback or discuss individual access requirements.
In addition to accessibility provision at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City also provides free sporting and social opportunities for disabled people across Greater Manchester through the club’s foundation, City in the Community.
Owain Davies, chief executive of Level Playing Field, said, “Manchester City are an excellent example of a club making continued improvements to its disabled supporters’ facilities and services. We are particularly impressed by the ‘can do’ culture throughout the club and based on the findings of the access audit and in recognition of the work that has been done and continues to be done, the LPF Board of Trustees are delighted to award the LPF Centre of Excellence”.
“At Manchester City we’re committed to ensuring our facilities are accessible to all of our supporters, not just at the Etihad Stadium, but within the wider campus and Academy Stadium too, so we’re delighted to have received the Level Playing Field Centre of Excellence Award,” added Danny Wilson, operations director at Manchester City.
“We’ll continue to work hard to develop our accessibility provision in respect of both facilities and services to further enhance the experience of disabled supporters and visitors at the club”.
By Sam Petters
May 2, 2018