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Disabled football fans show red card to top-flight club websites

E-accessibility charity AbilityNet’s report into the accessibility of the 20 top-flight football clubs websites has found that basic legal standards are not being met. 11 years on from the first football club survey hardly any progress has been made

A report by AbilityNet, the UK’s leading e-accessibility charity, into the accessibility of the 20 top-flight football clubs websites has found that basic legal standards are still not being met.

In the eleven years following AbilityNet’s original survey of Premiership websites hardly any progress has been made on web accessibility and usability for football fans.

The survey of the 20 clubs in the English Premier League found that each website failed the accessibility test and was difficult and frustrating for disabled people to use.

AbilityNet’s web accessibility testers reported usability and design issues that prevented them from completing common tasks such as buying tickets and merchandise.

The web accessibility tests in AbilityNet’s ‘State of the eNation report’ included automated testing using industry-standard compliance tools as well as user testing of a sample of eight sites. Disabled people were asked to purchase tickets for the next home game and to buy a scarf from the club shop online.

There are at least 12 million disabled people in the UK, of which just 8% are in a wheelchair.

One disabled user commented:

“This was a really frustrating experience. Something as simple as trying to work out whether there are any tickets available for a match had me going round and round in circles on the very busy-looking website.”

A second disabled website tester said:

“I wanted to buy a scarf. Eventually in small print I saw the word ‘shop’, which was hard to spot with my magnification software. I couldn’t buy a ticket as I was put in a queue and eventually I gave up!”

AbilityNet’s Head of Digital Inclusion Robin Christopherson said:

“Performance on the football pitch doesn’t matter, these results show that none of the leading clubs have truly considered the needs of disabled people when designing their websites.

“The fact that none of the top flight football club websites comply with the law eleven years after our original survey means disabled supporters are still missing out on booking tickets or buying club memorabilia.

“Although there are legal requirements to make a site accessible for people with disabilities, acting on these results is likely to improve the experience of every customer.

“Own-goals all round leaving many disabled fans distinctly unimpressed.”