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Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP at Labour's Conference last autumn.

Labour backs access for disabled sports fans

LABOUR’S SHADOW Sports Minister, the newly elected MP for Tooting Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, has called on the Premiership to do more to improve access to stadia where premiership games are played.

Her comments came after the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee produced a report on how well football clubs are getting on with the job of improving access for disabled fans who want to watch a game. The MPs were worried that matters are worst in the Premier League – where, they say, clubs are just not spending the money on the necessary adaptations. They name Liverpool, Chelsea and Watford as the worst offenders.

The Premier League denied they were dragging their feet on the issue and said its clubs were “working extremely hard” to improve access since its promise, in 2015, that improvements would be made by August 2017. The Premier League is due to publish an interim report on progress at the end of this month, which should clarify the situation with detailed and up to date information.

Dr Allin-Khan, who previously worked at the A&E Department at the Royal London Hospital, said: “This [Select Committee] report highlights the continuing inaction by a number of clubs in providing adequate facilities for disable fans attending matches. While there have been improvements by a number of leading clubs throughout British sport in general, it’s clear that in some areas such as the Premier League, increased revenues through new TV and commercial deals has not led to the necessary improvements in stadium accessibility or match day experiences for these fans. The Premier League must reconfirm its commitment to disabled fans and compel clubs to make suitable investment to ensure its matches are accessible to all.”

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