Breaking Down Barriers For Disabled People In Football
Fans of all ages and regardless of their disability or differences should be able to come together online as a community to share their passion for football.
Football is a global game and the central hub to bring everyone together is a club’s website. These websites provide visitors with everything they need to know about a club; latest news, match reports, fixtures and the ability to purchase tickets and merchandise like replica kits via the online stores.
Unfortunately, it’s an issue that many disabled football supporters have to deal with, inaccessible websites. To allow everyone to engage with their favourite clubs and players, football club websites need to be inclusive by providing accessibility support.
Globally there are an estimated 285 million people with a visual impairment of some kind and around 10-15% of the world’s population has dyslexia. In the UK alone, there are 1.5 million people with a learning disability and 4.2 million people who have English as a second language.
This makes assistive technology all the more important to support fans online to access content in a way that works best for them.
Many Premier League football clubs, such as Newcastle United, Everton FC, Watford FC and Leicester City are now offering an accessibility and language support solution called Recite Me assistive technology to help everyone online.
Recite Me is award-winning software that allows Kick It Out’s users to customise the website in a way that works best for them This is particularly important for disabled people or people who speak English as a second language to access vital equality information and resources.
English football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out also support people of their website with Recite Me.
Keeley Baptista, Kick It Out’s Head of Partnerships, commented: “Recite Me is a pioneering software tool that will significantly improve the accessibility of our website.
“Disability inclusion is a central part of our work and we are excited to be working more closely with the team at Recite Me going forward as we aim to break down the barriers for disabled people in football.”
Lucy Oliver, Head of Inclusion, Newcastle United Football Club, added: “We are delighted to have launched Recite Me on our club website. Our collective aim at Newcastle United is to create a culture as varied as that of the great city we are honoured to represent. This toolbar is a tremendous step forward in ensuring that people can access news and information about our club more easily which will undoubtedly increase our reach and engagement. “
Allowing people to come together to share their passion for football online should be a key goal for all football club in 2020. By providing a wide range of accessibility tools such as the screen reader and on-demand live translation, fans of all ages, regardless of their disability or differences can engage with football news and events online hassle-free.