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26 February 2024

Level Playing Field campaign supports Albion fans with a disability

Level Playing Field campaign supports Albion fans with a disability

Saturday marked the first day of the Level Playing Field Unite for Access campaign.

This campaign is designed to promote improved access and inclusion for disabled sports fans. Level Playing Field (LPF) is a charity with the goal of assisting sports clubs to provide the best matchday experience for disabled supporters and their personal assistants.

LPF addresses two major issues as part of the campaign. The first is to ensure disabled fans feel equally valued and welcomed at matches. We can all play our part by ensuring we respect the challenges that disabled fans have in attending stadiums. Just small gestures, such as clearing the pathway for a disabled fan, can make a difference.

The second is the recognition that not all disabilities are obvious. Hidden disabilities such as autism and ADHD are huge challenges.

From research conducted by the University of Leeds, 70 percent of all disabilities are non-visual. It is the duty of all of us to ensure all fans feel included. We can do this by pledging our support for the campaign and this is why the Albion launched the Disabled Supporters’ Association (DSA) on Saturday during the Premier League fixture against Everton.

At half-time, there was a pitch-side discussion with some of the people who have developed the DSA. Niraj and Julie Haria discussed their journey; with Niraj becoming a disabled supporter following a car accident. They also shared information about how the club made the arrangements to move their family to a wheelchair area.

Niraj faces challenges every time he attends games at the Amex and away games are almost impossible. It will be the role of the DSA to help with information and shared experiences to assist others in similar situations.

The BHAFC Foundation’s own Guy Butters will be the DSA’s first ambassador.

As many will know, Guy played for the Albion between 2002 and 2008, making 187 appearances. Since retiring, he has worked for the Brighton & Hove Albion Foundation as a mentor and fundraiser. Guy brings to us a great deal of enthusiasm and experience and he is warmly welcomed to the team.

All disabled fans and their personal assistants can register an interest in joining the DSA by emailing seagulls.dsa@gmail.com


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