COVID-19 Has Significant Impact On Disabled Fans' Mental Health
Level Playing Field, the live sport disability equality and inclusion charity, have released a first of its kind survey documenting the thoughts and attitudes of disabled supporters on how the suspension of live sport due to COVID 19 has impacted their personal and psychological wellbeing.
The survey found 43% of the people who took part stated that the suspension of live sport had an significant impact their mental health while 62% of supporters stated that if they were unable to return to sport next season, they fear it would have a huge impact on their own personal wellbeing.
The survey aims to help Level Playing Field and other organisations understand how disabled supporters feel about live sport moving forward, when fans are able to return to stadia.
Close to 600 respondents from across the football pyramid took part in the survey which was open for 5 weeks and showcases the thoughts and expectations of match-going fans as sport begins to reconvene behind closed doors.
Some of the key findings of the survey include:
– 79% of supporters were in the government’s ‘high risk’ category for COVID19, but 81% of fans intend to or already have renewed their season ticket for the, 2020/21 season despite the Coronavirus Pandemic.
– 86% of supporters expected clubs to provide live streaming services when asked what adjustments or alternatives they would like to see if clubs ban all supporters from attending games. 50% stated they would request alternative matchday viewing spaces.
The survey finds that there is a significant concern from disabled supporters about returning to watch live sport. In fact, 12% of respondents state that they’d been put off attending live sport ever again.
However, the majority of supporters’ passion for live sport is still high and expect provisions to be put into place so disabled supporters can return to live sport as soon as it is safe to do so.
Speaking of the result, Tony Taylor, Chair of Level Playing Field, said: “There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our way of life.
“As an organisation that represents disabled sports fans it is important that we can measure the impact; ensure that disabled fans’ views are not being overlooked and provide information to clubs, leagues and government as they plan their way through this unprecedented situation.
“Our survey results from nearly 600 fans have endorsed what Level Playing Field already knew – how important attending live sport is for so many disabled people. But even we were shocked by the extent of the fear and anxiety expressed by some of the responders.
“Level Playing Field will ensure that this is shared widely with clubs and governing bodies. I am confident that they will find the data from this survey will support them in decision making and planning as sport begins to resume.”