'I just want to enjoy football in the same way'

Derby County

A disabled supporter of Derby County has expressed their disappointment and dissatisfaction towards the facilities provided for wheelchair users in League One. The fan, who has chosen to remain anonymous, claims that the lack of accessibility in some stadiums has made it almost impossible for them to enjoy watching their team play. The supporter explained that several grounds do not have adequate wheelchair seating, making it difficult to see the pitch and adding stress to the experience. Additionally, they highlighted issues with insufficient parking, inaccessible entrances and poor toilet facilities for disabled fans. The fan urged League One clubs to take action and improve their facilities for all fans, including those with disabilities. They emphasized that equal access should be a priority for football clubs and supporters alike.

A football supporter with a disability is contemplating giving up her practice of attending her team's matches on the road in League One, owing to the below par amenities provided at numerous venues.

Alex Steward is a devoted supporter of Derby County and has been following the team for ten years. He also uses a wheelchair.

According to her, problems encountered during games vary from severely blocked sightlines of the field to inadequate restroom accessibility.

According to her, if you're spending an equal amount of money to attend a football match, you should be able to relish the game just as much as anyone else.

People with disabilities desire equal access to facilities and experiences, rather than receiving preferential treatment.

Alex has been passionate about Derby County and going to their games since she was a teenager.

Together with her dad Mark, she has a great affection for the Rams and has attended games at Pride Park as well as in various locations throughout the country.

The process began roughly a decade ago, during a time where my comrades began to venture outside on excursions. Unfortunately, my condition necessitated a guardian to accompany me at all moments. As a result, we had to search for an activity that satisfied both my father and me," she stated in an interview with BBC East Midlands Today.

After attending a single game, we were immediately captivated and decided to purchase a season pass for the upcoming season.

This holds great significance to me. It's as if, for an hour and a half, no other thoughts enter your mind. Even if it's been a rough week, I always look forward to heading out of the house on a Saturday to play football. It guarantees that I'll be out and about.

They were both aware that if Derby were relegated from the Championship in 2022, they would be playing at smaller stadiums. However, they were taken aback by the unpredictable availability of facilities and the lack of sufficient seating.

Sometimes they have been in a situation where they are seated at the same level as the field, but they cannot see the match because of the advertising boards blocking their view. Additionally, they have ended up sitting with fans who support the home team.

Steward expressed that he occasionally feels upset. However, this particular season marked the first time he left an away match with the feeling of not wanting to attend any more away games resembling that experience.

In 2022, Level Playing Field - a charity that advocates for disabled fans to have equal access to sports - discovered an upswing in the number of fans who claimed that sport stadiums were not adequately accessible.

The EFL is collaborating with charitable organizations and clubs to enhance spectators' experiences during matches in all of its competitions.

The EFL stated that they are putting in place various tactics to reinforce and enhance amenities for those with disabilities.

At our company, we are dedicated to consistently enhancing our services in partnership with our clubs and ensuring fairness for everyone involved. Our ultimate goal is to assist clubs in fulfilling their legal obligations under the Equality Act of 2010.

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