London football clubs criticised for not providing disabled fans with accessible toilets

By Louie Chandler

Learning disability charity Mencap have criticised football clubs across Britain for failing to meet a pledge made in August 2015 to provide fully accessible toilets at their grounds within two years.

Chelsea and Tottenham are amongst the most heavily criticised clubs. Photo: BleacherReport

Mencap believe Changing Places Toilets are essential if more than 250,000 fans in the UK are to be able to support their club in comfort.

“Nobody wants to leave a game to go home just to use the toilet.”

There are 13 top flight clubs still to install these toilets, including London clubs Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace.

“It’s inexcusable for over half of the Premier League to be without fully accessible toilets for all disabled fans,” said Mencap activism manager Clare Lucas.

“Nobody wants to leave a game halfway through to go home just to use the toilet, but without a Changing Places facility, the only other option is the degrading experience of being changed on what may be a dirty, unhygienic toilet floor. This is not a choice anyone should have to make.”

The Premier League have already acknowledged the calls for change and say they will carry out a full assessment of their club’s facilities in August.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has come under fire for the lack of movement on the subject. Photo: The Mirror.

A statement read: “Premier League clubs have embarked on a substantial programme of work to improve facilities for disabled fans and rapid progress is being made.

“The improvements undertaken are unprecedented in scope, scale and timing by any group of sports grounds or other entertainment venues in the UK.”

“It’s time for these clubs to step up and support their disabled fans”

But Lucas remains unimpressed, and feels the club’s have had more than enough time to install the facilities already.

“We are nearing the 2017 deadline for the accessibility promise that 17 of the current Premier League teams signed up to, yet many are no closer to fulfilling that pledge than they were in 2015. For such big clubs, there is simply no excuse.

“It’s time for these clubs to step up and support their disabled fans, as they support their team, so that everyone can enjoy watching their team play.”

What are Changing Places toilets? 

An example of a Changing Places toilet that each Premier Club is expected to install

Changing Places toilets offer more intricate facilities than a regular disabled toilet, allowing people with severe learning disabilities, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis to use them with ease.

Each toilet provides:

  • a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench
  • a tracking hoist system, or mobile hoist if this is not possible
  • adequate space in the changing area for the disabled person and up to two carers
  • a centrally placed toilet with room either side
  • a screen or curtain to allow some privacy

Who are Mencap?

Mencap are a charity helping those living with learning disabilities.

“We’re here to improve the lives of people with a learning disability and their families now, and fight alongside them for a better future,” their website reads.

The organisation carry out schemes and activities for those with learning disabilities to promote inclusion, including sports days.

 

 

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