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Football

Sunderland

League 1
Sunderland Stadium of Light
Capacity: 48,095
Sunderland Stadium of Light
Sunderland
SR5 1SU

Disabled supporters contact

Club or stadium contact
 for disabled fans

Chris Waters
Disability Liaison Officer

0371 911 1200

General ticket office contact

Robert Reay
Ticket Office Manager

0191 551 5160

Accessibility information

Number of wheelchair user spaces

Actual:
202

Number of easy access and amenity seats

Actual:
328

Accessible services + information

Total number of parking spaces

How we set targets

We use accepted industry standards to set the club targets. The reference documents include: Accessible Stadia Guide 2003 and Accessible Stadia Supplementary Guidance 2015; Building Regulations Approved Document M, Access to and Use of Buildings; BS 8300, Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people; Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide); Access for All, UEFA and CAFE Good Practice Guide to Creating an Accessible Stadium and Matchday Experience

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About this page

This information is provided by Sunderland. Level Playing Field (LPF) cannot be held responsible if the service and provision differs from what is stated here.

If you have any queries please contact us.

Updated August 2019

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Fan comments

Comments reflect the views of the fans themselves and do not necessarily reflect the views of LPF.

  • Nick Musson, who attended V Lincoln City 04/01/20
    5 months ago

    A very enjoyable day at the Stadium of Light, even though it wasn’t the result that Imps fans were after.
    We were looked after really well and the stewards especially Dawn were a credit to the football club.
    We were able to access the lift and seating area very easily although we did find the area for the wheelchairs and carers a little bit of a tight squeeze.
    One of the ladies in a wheelchair required the toilet at half time and a couple of wheelchairs had to be moved out of the way to allow her access out of and to return to the allocated area.
    However this did not spoil the afternoon and we found Sunderland football club a very welcoming and extremely friendly club.

  • Jo&Jeff Newall, who attended 28/09/2019
    7 months ago

    This is an update on my last review in 2013 when I last visited The Stadium of Light as an away fan. The only change we encountered was that the parking for the official away travel for visiting fans has been moved much further away from the away entrance which has made it harder for those with walking difficulties and other disabilities.

    The biggest problem we encountered was that they refused to sell myself as a wheelchair user and my husband as my PA, a ticket for the 15-year old that often accompanies us to matches. The Box Office Manager claimed it was Safeguarding, when I pointed out that it was discrimination that a couple, if one was a wheelchair user, could not take a child to the match, the response I got was “rules, are rules”. When I suggested ways we might get round the rules the Box Officer Manager informed me “she was having me watched”! As the situation seemed to be going from bad to worse in quite unbelievable ways, I stated if the 15-year old, who is allowed to accompany us at every other ground we visit without any problems is not allowed in, we would also not enter the stadium despite already having our tickets and travelling over 4 hours to the stadium. As we left the Box Office to make our way back to the coach, we made people aware of our situation by repeatedly shouting “we’re not welcome”. By the time we got to the away end we were approached by a Club Official wanting to know what the problem was, his view, much more sensibly was “this is ridiculous we are a business that need to sell tickets not refuse them”! At this point, the Box Office Manager arrived, saying because she agreed with us (she had a very strange way of communicating her agreement in our conversation) she had taken the matter higher and it had been agreed the 3 of us could have entry. Had it been that as a result of this 15-year old sitting with us they had taken up the space of a wheelchair fan, I would have been the first to say it was not on but I knew this would not be so.

    Sadly these events somewhat overshadowed what would have otherwise been a good visit to a great stadium. Given this experience, I would be very interested to know how this safeguarding rule that we were told of, affects other wheelchair users who want to go to the Stadium of Light with someone under 16! For our next visit, I would definitely want this sorted before I travelled.

    Since the match I have heard further negative comments about people’s visit to the Stadium of Light: somebody who had recently undergone surgery was not allowed to use the lift despite explaining why they would not be able to cope with 3 flights of stairs. I can only think that arose from another of Sunderland’s stupid rules being enforced for the sake of rules.

  • gareth clark, who attended PAFC 2nd March 2019
    1 year ago

    Enjoyed the experience of coming here after a long coach trip it was nice to have friendly stewards, other members of staff and Sunderland fans asking how our journey was and what to do to help.The only drawback was we were up in the upper stand and some disabled found the steps and seating to be steep.
    Thou you could change seats if you contacted their supporter liaison officer.
    From experience of being to other grounds binoculars were packed so you could see more. Maybe an issue for those with a visual impairment thou soccer sight offers free commentary via headphones set or if you don’t like heights.
    Good to have a lift to use and no need to explain has to why you needed to use it. Has a disabled person with hidden disabilities you usually have to explain.
    Coach park was not far to walk either to the ground.
    Good to see disabled facilities available for both home and away fans and the club embracing the match day experience for all disabled fans.

  • Paul Horsfield, who attended Sunderland v QPR 14/10/17
    2 years ago

    Getting to the ground no problem just follow the signs. On arriving at the ground and showing the stewards the prearranged parking permit there was a bit of confusion about where the space was and ended up being told that the spaces with a D on them were for disabled parking and to find the one that coresponded with my bay number, on return to the car after the match was confronted by a chap who said we were parked in his pre purchased space and that it was an ongoing issue with the stewards. Looking at the space we should have been in it’s just like an ordinary supermarket space, no use whatsoever for a wheelchair user or anyone with mobility issues.

    Getting in the ground was easy pleasant club security officers and stewards although finding the way to the seating from the lift was a bit confusing. The accessible toilets required a radar key, but were clean and easy to transfer. The refreshement area is a complete joke if you’re disabled, the doors are quite tight to get a wheelchair through unless you open both doors, impossible if you’re on your own, we only had 686 fans at the match and it was impossible to move in a wheelchair due to the very small size of the area, I ended up waiting well away from the counter, not that I could get anywhere near it, so my carer could get the drinks, the service was that slow we missed the first 5 mins of the 2nd half, and the coffee was disgusting.

    The view of the match was better than expected, not as high up as we had been told, and the laminated safety glass made a great windbreak, the carers could either sit just behind us or stand alongside, being so close to our own fans made the atmosphere better as we felt a part of it unlike some other grounds we’ve visited. Overall not a bad try but still plenty for the club to do to make it a truly accessible experience.

  • Jay. , who attended Sunderland v arsenal
    3 years ago

    Absolutely disgusting. Helped my Mrs to the match happily in a small wheelchair. She’s only in it temporarily so no need for a disabled space. Just thought we’d pop her in her usual seate and fold the chair up until full time when we would get her back in and I’d push her home. Easy.

    Not at Sunderland its not. We were told they will NOT store walking aids, folding disable support of any sort.. They simply wouldn’t budge and we were told if she wanted to use her seat the chair had to go outside. What a joke! Suffice to say we left very upset and my Mrs vowed even when she’s fit and well again she won’t be back.. Neither will I.

  • J&J, who attended League Cup Round 2 - 27/08/13
    6 years ago

    This was our first visit to the Stadium of Light as away wheelchair fans.

    Access to the Ground

    Heading from the South we needed to weave our way through what appeared to be the inner ring road but the Stadium was well signed throughout. The route took us past two large supermarkets and the stadium was easily visible as we approached. We travelled in a wheelchair accessible mini-bus, part of our Club’s official away travel, which was allowed to park right opposite our entrance to the stadium. The entrance for away wheelchair fans is down the right hand side of the stadium. It is in the building marked, “The Black Cat Bar”. This entrance is more like a modern hotel lobby. There is a large lift on the left as you enter, which takes you to Level 3.

    Facilities in the Ground for Away Wheelchair Fans

    Viewing Areas

    There is no away end as such as the home fans occupy all 4 sides of the ground and the away fans (including the away wheelchair fans) are at one end behind the goal on the upper tier. On leaving the lift at Level 3 you do a right and left turn through a carpeted (!) lobby area to get your first view of the inside of the stadium. I noticed there was a refuge area marked on the right in this lobby. As you go along the passage towards the stand, the wheelchair viewing platform is in front of you, slightly to the left, in the far left corner, right at the front of the upper tier. The away fans area is behind above you and at the side of you. Even with only just over 200 away fans we felt very much part of the away crowd which is very welcome as we are so often at some distance from them. Our club was sent 6 wheelchair tickets and I guess that would be the maximum for the area (no marked spaces). For our visit there were 3 of us in powerchairs with companions and that felt comfortable, although we had to do a bit of “come dancing” to allow each other to move in and out of the area. There are drop-down companion seats at the back of the platform. One of the companions with our group happily used them and the other two chose to stand and this was allowed. With more wheelchair users the view from the companion seats might be more problematic.

    For us what made this platform unique was how high up the upper stand is and the subsequent view. It is difficult to convey in words the sense of vastness that comes from being right at the front so high up in such a massive stadium, it has a real wow factor. This is not the ground to go to if you have a fear of heights! That said, I am not someone who would choose to look over the edges of bridges but I felt quite comfortable and safe looking out, not least I think because of the clear viewing panels at the front of the platform which for me made it feel very safe without detracting from the view. At 5ft 4” (in a powerchair) my view was just over the top of them but it would be equally good if your view was through these panels. I had read in an old stadia guide that it was one of the most impressive in the country and we weren’t disappointed.

    If there is a disadvantage to being so high up, it is that the pitch action is a long way away, with the players seeming like dots on green. I also found it impossible to read the clock on the scoreboard facing me at the other end of the pitch. I managed to get a 3G signal but in daylight, as you are close to the stadium side and over-hanging roof, we found it difficult lighting to take photos.

    Refreshments

    We didn’t sample the refreshments but our friends returned with the usual goodies and were very impressed by all the TVs in the refreshment area which I assumed was out near the lift and which I guess could get a bit congested if there were a lot of away fans in this area.

    Accessible Toilets

    There is a large accessible toilet in front of you as you exit the lift on Level 3 with a steward on hand to unlock it for you. It was spotlessly clean. It is a right hand transfer, with hot water, liquid soap and hand towels. The only thing missing was a bin of any description.

    Headset Commentaries for Blind and Partially Sighted Fans

    As my husband is severely sight impaired and watches games through a 1 cm spy glass he is always pleased when clubs provide a headset commentary to help him follow the ball. Unlike with most Clubs we were unable to find any info about disabled fans on Sunderland’s web site, so I used the general enquiry email address to contact the club and got a prompt positive response, stating that a headset would be with the stewards for his use, which it was. It was in fact in an old style Walkman with a radio but my husband was unable to get any audible commentary for most of the game. We have emailed the Club to advise them that my husband thought there might be a technical problem with the headset. Even though we were so far from the pitch, my husband said this distance, compared to other grounds where we were much nearer the pitch, did not adversely affect what he could see through his spy glass and as with us all, he just enjoyed the brilliant atmosphere and sense of occasion.

    Attitude of Club Officials

    As soon as our mini-bus parked at the Stadium, a WPC came aboard and welcomed us to the Stadium, she then went on to say she was required to remind us that racist comments were not tolerated at the Stadium and offenders would be evicted. In the 40 previous stadiums we have visited as away fans we had not had this welcome before and opinion was divided amongst us about it. Perhaps mention that no abuse of any type would be tolerated would have been received better by a group who in their time have experienced abuse by home fans on the grounds of disability.

    Stewards were immediately on hand to direct us where to go and continued to be at each point during our visit. The Stewards we dealt with were friendly and welcoming without being over burdening, just as we would want them to be.

    After the Match

    We were able to exit the stadium and get back onto our mini-bus without any problems. The official away travel was given a police escort from the stadium so we were able to commence our 5-hour journey home without any delay, albeit the roads around the stadium did generally seem congested.

    Will We go Again?

    Yes. The experience was worth leaving home at 12.45 pm, getting home at 3.30 am and needing 2 days to recover from lack of sleep and such a long journey!

  • Allan MacKillop, who attended View blocked by fans standing 28/10/2011
    7 years ago

    I’m a season ticket holder at Sunderland (North Stand). The facilities are fairly well organized, with good car parking and helpful stewards. However, the elevation of the wheelchair area is not high enough to stop supporters who choose to stand from obstructing the view.