Premier League clubs criticised over disability access

A general view of Dean Court, or the Goldsands Stadium, home to AFC Bournemouth on July 21, 2013
© Getty Images
The Equality and Human Rights Commission criticises the Premier League on the subject of disability access at clubs' grounds.

The Premier League has been urged to stop making "excuses" by the Equality and Human Rights Commission after publishing its interim report on disability access at clubs' grounds.

Top-flight clubs were criticised last month by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which claimed that some clubs were expected to miss an August deadline to become compliant with disability access requirements.

The report published by the league suggests that Bournemouth, Chelsea and Watford may not fulfil a pledge to meet standards by August 2017.

However, it adds that clubs have been "working hard on delivery" since a 2014 BBC report found that 17 of 20 clubs did not provide enough wheelchair spaces, and that clubs "deserved credit" for improvements already completed.

"The time for excuses is over," said David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. "The Premier League promised that disabled access would be improved by the start of next season, so it is disappointing that a number of clubs will fail to meet that deadline.

"Clubs need to urgently demonstrate to us what they are doing to ensure they are compliant with the law and how they are making it easier for disabled fans to attend matches. If they don't they will face legal action."

According to a report released by the select committee on January 16, Premier League clubs could face heavy fines and even points deductions if they fail to meet the August deadline.

Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull City were given extensions to 2018 to meet the guideline standards as they were only promoted last summer.

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