The Etihad Stadium becomes one of only five stadia in the UK to be officially recognised by the organisation.
Manchester City has received the Level Playing Field Centre of Excellence Award in recognition of the accessible facilities and services offered at the Etihad Stadium.
The award, which acknowledges sporting venues that demonstrate the highest access and inclusion standards in accommodating disabled supporters and visitors on match and non-match days has only been presented to five football stadia in the UK to date.
To qualify for the award, the club or venue undergoes a Level Playing Field professional access audit and must demonstrate that it meets all good practice standards, equality and access legislation and guidance for accessible sports stadia.
Manchester City’s accessibility initiatives include audio commentary which provides a specific service for blind and partially sighted supporters, changing places facilities with shower provision, winter packs with handwarmers and foil ponchos, as well as a shuttle service for those who require assistance from car parks to the stadium.
Over the course of this season, the club has also introduced online ticketing for disabled supporters as well as a series of face to face meetings with club staff on a match day titled ‘Meet the Access Team’, where supporters can ask questions, provide feedback or discuss individual access requirements.
In addition to accessibility provision at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City also provides free sporting and social opportunities for disabled people across Greater Manchester through the club’s foundation, City in the Community. Initiatives include; Powerchair, PAN Disability and Amputee Football which form part of the foundation’s award winning ‘One City’ disability programme, which now caters for a total of nine different disability groups on a weekly basis.
Commenting on Manchester City’s commitment to accessibility, Level Playing Field Chief Executive, Owain Davies, said: “Manchester City are an excellent example of a club making continued improvements to its disabled supporter’s facilities and services.
“We are particularly impressed by the “can do” culture throughout the club and based on the findings of the access audit and in recognition of the work that has been done and continues to be done, the LPF Board of Trustees are delighted to award the LPF Centre of Excellence.”
Operations Director at Manchester City, Danny Wilson, expressed his pride in the work that the club carries out for disabled supporters, stating: “At Manchester City we’re committed to ensuring our facilities are accessible to all of our supporters, not just at the Etihad Stadium, but within the wider campus and Academy Stadium too, so we’re delighted to have received the Level Playing Field Centre of Excellence Award.
We’ll continue to work hard to develop our accessibility provision in respect of both facilities and services to further enhance the experience of disabled supporters and visitors at the club.”
Image: Manchester City via Getty Images