Disabled Supporters’ Policy
Exeter City Football Club has an Equal Opportunities Policy and opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination on the grounds of disability. We encourage the inclusion of disabled supporters and welcome their involvement.
The Club’s Disability Liaison Officer can be contacted via the Club.
The Club operates a specific non-discriminatory ticketing policy for disabled supporters and will ensure that the scheme does not differentiate between disabled people with differing impairments.
Where Health & Safety requirements demand that a person with a disability has to be accompanied by a personal assistant/carer, that person will be given free entry to matches where the Club has the right to allow free admission.
Where charges are made, the charge will be made to the disabled person. This is in line with current ‘disability etiquette’ which maintains that disabled people should be treated the same as any non-disabled person or in this case spectator.
Please note if the disabled person cannot attend a match, their personal assistant/carer will only be allowed access provided they pay for a full-price ticket.
Opportunities for disabled supporters to attend away matches are limited by the allocation received from the away club. The Disability Liaison Officer or Disabled Supporters’ Representative will carry out co-ordination of the sales of these tickets.
As a fundamental principle the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 states that disabled people should not be treated ‘less favourably, without justification’ and ‘reasonable adjustments should be made to make goods, facilities and services accessible’. Exeter City Football Club aims to comply fully with both the spirit and provisions of the Act.
For purposes of this policy only, the definition of a disabled supporter is:
Any person who, because of their disability and/or impairment, is unable to use ordinary stand seating without contravening Health and Safety Regulations, Guidelines or Policy or where the Club has provided a ‘reasonable adjustment’ to enable that supporter to attend the venue.
Any such person will be considered for use of the designated areas of the stadium in line with the procedures set out in this policy.
A person has a ‘disability’ if he/she has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
A ‘designated area’ is any area (including specific seats within the stadium) that the Club shall at its sole discretion determine as being available for disabled people at a concessionary price.
A ‘reasonable adjustment’ in this context shall include (but is not limited to) the need to use a wheelchair bay or the need to bring a personal assistant/carer.
The Club reserves the right to request ‘proof of a disability’ before issuing any concession. Such proof shall include receipt of the middle or higher rate of the Disability Living Allowance (mobility or care component), receipt of either the Severe Disablement Allowance or Attendance Allowance or a personal letter from a GP. Receipt of a blue badge will not be considered sufficient proof of disability.
The Club recognises that not all of its facilities are fully accessible to disabled supporters and confirms that it is committed to making the necessary reasonable adjustments described by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and its relevant codes of practice to ensure full compliance with legislation.
The club encourages users of both manual and powered wheelchairs to be accompanied by a personal assistant/carer. The club would not refuse admittance to those who don’t bring a personal assistant/carer unless there are valid reasons under Health and Safety.
Those supporters requiring access to one of our designated areas are advised to purchase tickets in advance if they do not hold a season ticket as the Club has limited space available.
The Club’s Disability Liaison Officer works closely with the Operations Manager and Match day Coordinator and advises the Club on issues which are of particular concern to disabled supporters.
Provision of Facilities and Amenities
Hearing Impaired Supporters
Supporters with impaired hearing can be accommodated in the stadium by various means.
Unfortunately the Club does not have induction loop equipment so it is strongly recommended that each hearing impaired person attending a match at St James Park is accompanied by a personal assistant/carer who are fully able to support their needs in the event of an emergency.
Visually Impaired Supporters
The Club is able to accommodate supporters with visual impairment in all parts of the ground but the club recommends that each visually impaired person attending a match at St James Park be accompanied by a personal assistant/carer who is fully able to support their needs in the event of an emergency.
On matchdays, information will be carried via the public address system.
Visually impaired people wishing to attend a match aided by their Guide Dog should contact the Club in advance for all relevant information. Measures will also be taken to ensure that the welfare of the Guide Dog is preserved.
Wheelchair Dependent Supporters
Exeter City Football Club has a limited number of facilities for wheelchair dependent supporters and their personal assistant/carer in all parts of the ground with the exception of the Stagecoach Family Stand. Wherever possible the Club will make suitable alternative arrangements for those wheelchair dependent supporters wishing to attend matches with their families.
The Club wishes to make the most appropriate use of these facilities by providing them to disabled people who are unable to sit in any other part of the stadium.
Individuals using, or wishing to apply for use of these designated areas must meet the following criteria:
1. Wheelchair using applicants must be largely dependent on a wheelchair for mobility purposes or not capable of walking a distance further than that required to reasonably and safely access any other part of the stadium
2. Wheelchair dependent applicants are accompanied by a personal assistant/carer who is capable of supporting their needs in the event of any emergency evacuation. Any exceptions to this must be notified to the Disability Liaison Officer or Disabled Supporters’ Representative 48 hours in advance of the match so that every effort can be made to make alternative arrangements.
Any refusals will only be on the grounds of a contravention of Health & Safety legislation.
People wishing to apply for season ticket places in the designated areas should contact the Club.
Wheelchair dependent supporters will be offered the opportunity of being seated in appropriate areas of the Stadium by purchasing tickets in advance and reserving a seat. Tickets for supporters in this position should be purchased at least 48 hours in advance.
Supporters with Learning Difficulties
Supporters with learning difficulties can be accommodated in the stadium by various means as it is normally possible for them to use ordinary stand accommodation. If for whatever reason, any person with a learning difficulty feels that ordinary stand accommodation would be unsuitable for them, they should contact the Club for further information.
Ambulatory Disabled Supporters
The Club recognises that there are considerable numbers of people in the community who use wheelchairs mainly for outdoor mobility purposes but are not necessarily confined to their wheelchair. There are also many people suffering severe walking difficulties who may wish to watch a match. There are also people with learning difficulties or debilitating illnesses who have difficulty walking. For the purposes of this policy this category of people will be termed ‘ambulatory disabled supporters’ and they will be asked to follow the procedure below in order to attend a match.
Ambulatory disabled supporters will be offered the opportunity of being seated in appropriate areas of the Stadium by purchasing tickets in advance and reserving a seat. Tickets for supporters in this position should be purchased at least 48 hours in advance.
It will also be necessary for the ambulant disabled person to provide qualifying documentation relating to their condition in order to qualify for a personal assistant/carer ticket.
The Club also recognises that disabled people have families and indeed may wish to attend a match as a family and therefore the Club will provide designated ambulatory seats for families on request within the Family Stand. Tickets for such seats should be purchased 48 hours in advance.
Supporters with Infirmities
Supporters with certain conditions can sometimes have difficulty in accessing seats in some parts of the Stadium. Exeter City Football Club recognises that elderly people now form a larger part of the population than younger people and the Club wishes to make sure that our elderly supporters are able to continue to attend matches whenever possible. The Club therefore recognises that some of its longest serving supporters with infirmities may require seating in an appropriate area of the stadium.
All supporters with infirmities who require seats in appropriate areas are requested to purchase tickets and book seats 48 hours in advance.
Car Parking for Disabled Supporters
Exeter City Football Club has four parking places allocated to its disabled supporters. These are allocated to supporters with the most severe mobility difficulties. Using these criteria, people attending the wheelchair areas of the stadium are given priority for the available places. However people with other mobility difficulties can make requests for any remaining places.
Applications should be made to the Club on a seasonal basis and each request will be judged on its individual merit.
The Club would ask that people recognise that there are only a limited number of places available and it will not be possible to accommodate everyone who has a Blue badge.
Two spaces are reserved for away supporters who can book the spaces by contacting the Club up to 24 hours in advance. After that time unallocated places will be released to Home supporters.
Away supporters will also be expected to produce their Blue badge on request.
Matchday catering for disabled people is provided within the stadium. However, certain areas of the stadium do not have catering facilities suitable for those with mobility difficulties and it is therefore advised that for these particular areas, disabled supporters either bring along a personal assistant/carer or notify the nearest steward who will be happy to provide assistance.
Other facilities, which come under the general heading of catering such as bars, executive lounges, boxes etc are accessible to disabled people by means of a lift and stair-lift. In these areas waitress service is provided.
Steps have already been taken to put procedures in place to provide information in formats that are more easily accessible to disabled people. Information leaflets are available in large print, electronic format and audio versions are available on request.
The official Exeter City website (www.exetercityfc.co.uk) is run by Sapient Nitro. They consistently monitor the levels of compliance against the Disability Discrimination Act, as well as working on an individual level with a number of disabled fans to deliver best practice across the network of Official Football sites.
Every reasonable adjustment is being made to all the services provided by the different departments of Exeter City Football Club. Access to goods and services, as well as match day facilities are being fully assessed and a programme of measures in place to ensure compliance with all associated legislation.
Elements of staff training that relate to ‘disability awareness’ and ‘disability etiquette’ have been identified and a training programme is in place to ensure that awareness and etiquette are observed. This training programme will be ongoing.
This policy was agreed at a meeting of the Board of Directors held on 11th April 2013 and will be reviewed again in April 2015.