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Disabled Supporters Policy

OUR COMMITMENT 
  
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 all supporters with disabilities and welcome their involvement. 

The Club is committed to taking a proactive approach to ensure that the needs of all supporters with disabilities and visitors are met as the Club recognises that not all of its facilities are fully accessible to supporters with disabilities and visitors. 

The Club confirms that it is committed to making the necessary reasonable adjustments 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. 
  
TICKET PRICING 
  
The Club operates a specific non-discriminatory ticketing policy for supporters with disabilities and will ensure that the scheme does not differentiate between all the different disability groups. 

Where charges are made, the charge will be made to the person with the disability. This is in line with current "disability etiquette" which maintains that people with disabilities should be treated the same as any non-disabled person or in this case spectator. 

Where Health and Safety requirements demand that a person with a disability has to be accompanied by a personal assistant, that assistant will be given free entry to matches where the Club allows free admission. 

Please note if the person with the disability cannot attend a match, their personal assistant will only be allowed access provided they pay for a full price ticket. 

The Club reserves the right to ask for 'proof of disability' before issuing any concession under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA), which was replaced by the Equality Act 2010. However, the Disability Equality Duty in the DDA continues to apply. 

Such proof shall include: 

  • Receipt of the Standard or Advance rate of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), (daily living or mobility component).
  • 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. 
  • A personal letter from a GP.

Receipt of a Blue Badge will not be considered sufficient proof of disability. 

Should an existing season ticket holder become disabled, they may apply for a transfer to a designated viewing area. Where possible, the Club will aim to accommodate such a request. If after considering all possible reasonable adjustments the Club concludes that it is unable to provide a space, then priority consideration will be given when a space becomes available. 

Opportunities for supporters with disabilities to attend away matches are limited by the allocation received from the away club. The Disability Liaison Officer or the clubs Ticket Office will carry out co-ordination of the sales of these tickets, when needed. 

DEFINITIONS 

As a fundamental principle, the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA) stated 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 Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and the Equality Act 2010. 

For purposes of this policy only, the definition of a supporter with a disability is: 

Any person who, because of their disability 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. 

As defined by the Equality Act 2010, a person with a Disability is defined as an individual who “has a physical or mental disability which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. 

'designated area' is any area (including specific seats within the stadium) that the Club shall at its sole discretion determine as being available for those with disabilities at a concessionary price. 

'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. 

'personal assistant' is someone who is accompanying a supporter with a disability and who is fully able to support the needs of said supporter in the event of an emergency. The Club recognise that many children are cares to their parents and won’t be treated no differently than an adult personal assistant. However, we insist that the child carer is fully able to support their parent’s disability needs in the event of an emergency. If a child is the parent’s pa, the club request that the Club’s Safeguarding Officer is notified. The Club’s Safeguarding Officer can be contacted via email: safeguarding@exetercityfc.co.uk.

REPRESENTATION 

The Club’s Disability Liaison Officer works closely with the Operations Manager and advises the Club on issues which are of particular concern to supporters with disabilities. 

The Club’s Disability Liaison Officer can be contacted via the Club or email: disability@exetercityfc.co.uk

PROVISION OF FACILITIES AND AMENITIES

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Supporters
Supporters who are deaf or hard of hearing can be accommodated in the stadium by various means. 

Unfortunately, the Club does not have induction loop equipment within the stadium. However, a portable induction loop system is used within the club shop and reception. It is strongly recommended that a person with a severe hearing loss attending a match at St. James’ Park is accompanied by a personal assistant 

who is fully able to support their needs in the event of an emergency, unless said person has an Assistance Dog and in this case the Club’s Disability Liaison Officer should be contacted in advance for all relevant information. 

Blind and Partially Sighted Supporters
The Club is able to accommodate supporters who are blind and partially sighted in all parts of the ground but the club recommends that the blind or severely partially sighted person attending a match at St James’ Park be accompanied by a personal assistant who is fully able to support their needs in the event of an emergency, unless said person has an Assistance Dog and in this case the Club’s Disability Liaison Officer should be contacted in advance for all relevant information. 

On match days, information will be carried via the public-address system. 

The club has a dedicated Descriptive Commentary Service for those who are blind or partially sighted with 10 headsets in total available to both Home & Away supporters. Those wishing to use this service are advised to contact Club Reception in advance for availability. 

Wheelchair Dependent Supporters
Exeter City Football Club has a limited number of spaces for wheelchair dependent supporters and their personal assistant in all parts of the ground with the exception of the Family Stand at this time. 

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 those with disabilities 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 of either manual or powered wheelchairs are encouraged to be accompanied by a personal assistant who is capable of supporting their needs in the event of any emergency evacuation, unless said person has an Assistance Dog and in this case the Club’s Disability Liaison Officer should be contacted in advance for all relevant information. 

The Club would not refuse admittance to those who don’t bring a personal assistant; any refusals will only be on the grounds of a contravention of Health and Safety legislation. 

Designated areas for wheelchair dependent home supporters are located in the Main Stand = 10 spaces and Big Bank Stand = 21 spaces. The designated area for wheelchair dependent away supporters is located in the Main Stand = 3 spaces. All areas are raised and only designated bay 5 is uncovered with waterproofs provided when needed for said bay. 
      
People wishing to apply for season ticket places in the designated areas should contact the Club. 

Wheelchair dependent supporters who require tickets for a designated area are encouraged to purchase tickets 48 hours in advance. 

The club have wheelchairs for hire for those with a temporary disablement. Those wishing to use this service are advised to contact club reception in advance for availability and hire. 

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. 

Supporters with learning difficulties can normally attend games by themselves. However, if for whatever reason this is not the case we encourage these people to be accompanied by a personal assistant who is capable of supporting their needs in the event of any emergency evacuation. 

Supporters with Ambulatory Disabilities
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 'supporters with ambulatory disabilities’ and they will be asked to follow the procedure below in order to attend a match: 

Supporters with ambulatory disabilities who require seats in appropriate areas are encouraged to purchase tickets 48 hours in advance. 

It will also be necessary for the ambulant supporter to provide qualifying documentation relating to their condition in order to qualify for a personal assistant ticket, if a personal assistant is required. 
      
The Club also recognises that people with disabilities 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. 

Supporters with infirmities who require seats in appropriate areas are encouraged to purchase tickets 48 hours in advance. 

Assistance Dogs
Assistance dogs are admitted to the ground. The Club’s Disability Liaison Officer should be contacted in advance for all relevant information. Measures will be taken to ensure that the welfare of the Assistance Dog is preserved. The club does have a separate Policy for Assistance Dogs. 

ACCESSIBLE PARKING

Home Supporters
Exeter City Football Club has 4 accessible spaces allocated to its supporters with disabilities. These are allocated to supporters with the most severe mobility difficulties. 

Applications/requests 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. 

Home supporters given an Accessible Parking Permit are expected to display their Blue Badge and Permit at all times. If there is no Blue Badge and Permit on displayed, then parking will be refused. 

Away Supporters
There are 2 accessible spaces reserved for away supporters who can book these 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 be expected to have their Blue Badge on display at all times. If a Blue Badge can’t be produced, then parking will be refused. 

Additional information: 

  1. There are council run car parks situated close to the ground which are free to those with a Blue Badge. However, there are also car parks that are chargeable.
  2. Those unable to walk far, there is a drop-off-point at the bottom of Stadium Way close to the accessible entrance to St. James’ Park. 

CATERING      
Match day catering 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, supporters with disabilities either bring along a personal assistant 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 people with disabilities by means of a lift. In these areas waitress service is provided. 

ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION
Steps have already been taken to put procedures in place to provide information in formats that are more easily accessible to people with disabilities. Information leaflets are available in large print, electronic format and audio versions are available on request. 

The official Exeter City website (http://www.exetercityfc.co.uk/) is operated by EFL Digital Limited (Company Number 04112553). They consistently monitor the levels of compliance against the Equality Act 2010, as well as working on an individual level with a number of fans with disabilities to deliver best practice across the network of Official Football sites. 

STAFF TRAINING 

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 on going. 
  
Inclusion & Anti-Discrimination (Equality and Diversity) staff training is also undertaken under the banner of ‘Playing for Inclusion’ provided by the English Football League ‘EFL’ as part of the Club’s Code of Practice. 

COMMUNITY ACTIVITY 

Exeter City Football in the Community ‘FiTC’ delivers regular coaching sessions for young people and adults with disabilities across a range of footballing activities. 

For more details on FiTC disability activities visit: http://www.exetercityfitc.co.uk/disability1

ADDITIONAL CLUB INFORMATION 

Exeter City Disabled Supporters Association ‘ECDSA’:
The Club has a Disabled Supporters Association who works closely with Exeter City AFC Ltd by helping to make improvements to all facilities for those with disabilities and regarded as one of the best in the country. Website details: http://ecfcdsa.co.uk/  Email details: ecfcdsa@gmail.com

One Game, One Community ‘OGOC’:
Exeter City AFC Ltd has long been recognised for playing a positive role in the Kick-it-Out campaign. The Club has had an active Kick-it-Out group since 1997; now working under the One Game One Community banner and Disability is one of the many different things they campaign on. 
Website details: http://ecfcst.org.uk/working-groups/community-working-group/one-game-one-community Email details: kickitout@exetercityfc.co.uk/   

This policy was approved at a meeting of the Board of Directors held on 6th April, 2017 and will be reviewed again in July 2019.