From The Argus
A Powerchair footballer on course to represent England in the World Cup is urging disabled football fans not to feel anxious about coming to see matches.
Matt Francis, captain of Brighton and Hove Albion’s powerchair football team, has said disabled fans should not be put off about coming to the American Express Community Stadium to see the Championship side play due to fears over access .
The 18-year-old is on course to represent England at next year’s World Cup and last year was named the Young Sports Star of the Year at The Argus Community Stars Awards.
He said other grounds across the country he had visited did not have the same breadth of facilities for disabled fans which are on offer at the Amex.
He added: “Don’t be apprehensive about coming to a match. Football is brilliant at bringing people together and that is something the Albion are really good at.
“You can come to a game at the Amex and for 90 minutes you are just a football fan like everyone else.”
The powerchair player made the call ahead of National Disabled Access Day on March 12.
Matt said: “I travel to a lot of away games and one thing which frustrates me is that sometimes you have to sit with the home fans.
“The best thing about away games is the atmosphere and if you have to sit away from your fellow fans you can feel excluded.
“At the Albion it is completely different. The stadium has a Changing Places toilet, complete with hoist and wet room facility, including a sluice bed.
“This makes a big difference to many disabled fans as it provides a level of dignity not afforded by more dated disabled toilets found at other grounds.”
The Amex boasts 175 wheelchair spaces, 30 disabled toilets, and an additional 35 larger toilets for accessible for wheelchair users.
Article reproduced from The Argus