Mencap blasts UK stadia to improve accessibility as August deadline looms

StadiumLeicester City is one of a handful clubs to install Changing Places toilets. Getty

Disability charity Mencap is pushing for Premier League football clubs to install disabled toilet facilities before the deadline in August for pledges made by clubs two years ago.

The charity criticised “over half” of Premier League clubs for failing to meet commitments regarding Changing Places toilets and branded it as “inexcusable”, according to a Sky News report.

The Premier League has acknowledged the call for change and insisted that the need for facilities would be addressed by each club at the start of next season.

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13 top flight clubs are yet to install a Changing Places toilets, which are larger than standard accessible facilities and include an adjustable changing bench, hoist, privacy screen and enough room for up to two carers.

Mencap has produced a ‘Changing Places toilet league table’, which is topped by Liverpool with two registered facilities (below).

Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Southampton all have one registered facility, while Leicester City has one unregistered toilet and West Ham three, having inherited them with the London Stadium.

Bournemouth, Everton, Sunderland and Watford have promised to install one by August but according to the Sky report, Mencap is unaware of any plans to do so at Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Spurs, Stoke, Swansea or West Brom.

Mencap’s activism manager, Clare Lucas, told Sky News: “It’s inexcusable for over half of the Premier League to be without fully accessible toilets for all disabled fans.

“We are nearing the 2017 deadline for the accessibility promise that 17 of the current Premier League teams signed up to, yet many are no closer to fulfilling that pledge than they were in 2015. For such big clubs, there is simply no excuse.

“They have the space and the money to install Changing Places or at least temporary Changing Places solutions like ‘Mobiloos’, for teams expecting to move stadiums. It’s time for these clubs to step up and support their disabled fans, as they support their team, so that everyone can enjoy watching their team play.”

Meanwhile, a Premier League statement read: “Premier League clubs have embarked on a substantial programme of work to improve facilities for disabled fans and rapid progress is being made. The improvements undertaken are unprecedented in scope, scale and timing by any group of sports grounds or other entertainment venues in the UK.

“Clubs made a commitment to substantially improve disabled access in a range of areas by the start of season 2017/18 and the Premier League will make an assessment of the progress made at that point. We are conscious of the calls for Changing Places facilities to be built in stadia and these are being taken into account by the League and our clubs.”

 

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