Liverpool Is Fighting For Disability Inclusion – In The Community, The Stands, And The Media

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The match day experience of a Premier League supporter living with disability is not always an easy one. A recent Times report on the lack of FA enforcement over non-compliance as it regards accessibility measures found that some fans described their matchday experience as ‘horrible’, deriving little enjoyment from the match. As Liverpool fans, however, the picture is a little bit rosier. The club is putting a lot of work into make the club a welcoming one for fans living with disability, starting with those in the community.

Engaging in community action

Football clubs are often decried for being out-of-touch from their roots in the local area. Liverpool are not innocent in this regard, and FSG have made costly errors in gauging fan opinion. However, one area in which the club has excelled is community engagement with disabled fan groups. Football is something that needs careful adaptation to play when it comes to people with disability, whether it’s on the pitch or in coaching. This is something recognised by the club, and schemes such as the LFC Foundation pathway, established in conjunction with the Liverpool FA, are providing real opportunities for disabled fans.

Rating the stadium

For the majority of Liverpool fans, the most important part of the experience is the matchday. As Age UK have profiled in their analysis of disability accessibility across the Champions League, Anfield is beaten – and only just beaten – by Spurs and Man City, who both boast much newer stadia. That means disabled fans can be confident of being looked after and respected on match day.

Fighting the narrative

Alongside the efforts of the club comes the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association – or LDSA. One of their most crucial interventions has come in changing the popular narrative around the Champions League final; as ITV highlights, fans were treated abysmally by the authorities and UEFA, and disabled fans bore an especially significant burden. Through the concerted action of these groups, who also coordinate with the club to ensure their views are heard, disabled fans are able to find recourse to justice.

Cumulatively, these factors make Liverpool FC a great club for disabled supporters to become invested in. As with all matters of inclusivity, there’s more that can be done. Right now, however, challenges on the field aside, Liverpool is a welcoming and caring institution.

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