On Wednesday 25th May the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee heard further evidence from Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People and Nick Pontefract, Head of Sport at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport for the Accessibility of Sports Stadia inquiry.
The committee had previously heard from LPF Chair Joyce Cook OBE, and General Manager Ruth Hopkins who gave evidence on 24th May.
During the session, Justin Tomlinson MP said that the common situation whereby disabled away fans were made to sit amongst home fans was ‘totally unacceptable to put fans in the wrong section.’
He went on to say that it is ‘not an overly onerous task’ to improve access for disabled fans, including the ‘training and awareness of staff’ – something which he highlighted as a key issue in providing more accessible stadia. He added, ”it’s an absolute given that disabled fans should have that opportunity to enjoy sports.’
Nick Pontefract said that ‘disabled people are disproportionately not attending live sport’ and that ‘the obvious step is how we focus our attention on removing those barriers (to attending live sport).’
When the possibility of sanctions for clubs who do not comply with accessibility requirements was discussed, Pontefract said ‘there needs to be some form of compulsion to engage with this’, adding that, ‘nothing is off the table.’
Video: Watch the 25th May Select Committee session below (from Parliament TV)
The Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee is also calling on sports fans to submit written evidence as part of the Accessible Sports Stadia inquiry. Read more and have your say here.
You can read more about the Accessibility of Sports Stadia inquiry on the Parliament website
Hansard transcripts to follow upon publication.