WATCHING live sport provides a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing, however over 50 per cent of disabled people don’t participate in physical or recreational activities such as attending live sport.
Level Playing Field 2020 Weeks of Action launches this weekend in partnership with the Premier League and the English Football League.
The Weeks of Action, which run from February 29th until March 15th showcase the work that is being done to bring about the goal of access for all at sporting events across England and Wales by improving the match-day experience for existing disabled fans and providing opportunities for new ones.
This year we will see Fans, Clubs, Disabled Supporter Associations and other partners coming together to showcase the immense power of attending live sport. Clubs will be hosting events and delivering new services whilst also highlighting what they do already. We will also see fans share their experiences and raise awareness of what is done and what can be done to make the ‘Beautiful game’ even more accessible.
Level Playing Field Chair, Tony Taylor, said: “Last year was our biggest campaign to date, with over 76 clubs from the Premier League and the EFL taking part. Our ambition is to exceed last year’s numbers and to continue push the positive impact of attending live sport and highlight what good work is being done already.
“As always, this campaign relies on the backing of the governing bodies and we are delighted to receive the support of both the Premier League and the EFL in providing the necessary resources for delivering this campaign.
“Level Playing Field Ambassadors, Trustees and staff will be visiting clubs across the leagues during the period and we urge people to back the campaign and to ensure the message of good access and inclusion for disabled fans is heard and acted upon.
“The campaign is an integral part of driving higher standards and tackling poor access with constructive solutions. At the end of the day, we want more disabled fans attending live sport and having a better experience; we feel the best way in doing this is by education and sharing best practice.”
As part of their ongoing support, Aneel Javed, Inclusion Manager at the EFL, commented on the upcoming campaign, and why Weeks of Action is an important step towards an accessible match day: “The EFL and its Clubs are committed to ensuring an inclusive and accessible matchday for all and we are proud to support Level Playing Field and the Weeks of Action.
“It’s important to raise awareness around the challenges and barriers that disabled supporters face on a matchday and ensure we share best practice of what Clubs can do help support and make it a more enjoyable experience for everybody.”
Suffolk FA Inclusive Football Development Officer Kirsty Smith said: “The Level Playing Field Weeks of Action are a really important campaign to be a part of.
“Football is the biggest sport within the country and the county – however not everyone has the chance to easily participate or watch live football on a regular basis.
“We believe this campaign is a great way of highlighting the barriers some people still face within football – just to play or watch a local/professional football match, whilst also trying to raise awareness of all the great work that is currently going on.
“We are striving to make football inclusive within Suffolk and campaigns like this are a great way at trying to achieve that and break down barriers.”
Members of Ipswich Charioteers are pictured above with Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert at last year’s event at Portman Road.