Chelsea, Watford, Everton and Crystal Palace miss disabled spaces targets

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Archive: Disabled fans 'discriminated against'

Four Premier League clubs have missed their own deadline to meet wheelchair space targets for disabled fans.

Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Watford and Everton have failed to meet targets agreed in 2015.

Charity Level Playing Field (LPF) said those clubs had "let their disabled fans down" but added that "we are keen to recognise improvements made".

The Premier League says it has made "extensive progress" in improving disabled access.

Of the 16 clubs that agreed in 2015 to meet wheelchair targets by this season, 12 have fulfilled the criteria.

The targets were set after a BBC investigation in 2014 found that 17 of the 20 clubs in the top flight at that time failed to provide enough wheelchair spaces.

Burnley were promoted in 2016, so have an extra year in which to meet the Premier League's accessible stadia guidelines (ASG), while Brighton, Huddersfield and Newcastle only joined the top flight this summer.

Of the other 16 clubs, only three were compliant with the ASG target in 2015.

As a result of work carried out since then, 1,000 new wheelchair bays have been added - a 50% increase.

Watford have added 60 positions, but are 40 short of the ASG target. However, they do not fill their existing bays and have agreed to attempt to boost demand.

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Archive: Changes promised for disabled fans

In the cases of Chelsea, Everton and Palace, the Premier League noted the age of their stadiums and the difficulties involved in developing them.

Palace have added 66 new bays and Everton 54, while Chelsea have recently secured planning permission for a major development of Stamford Bridge.

Premier League executive director Bill Bush said: "The scale and scope of what has been undertaken across the Premier League is unprecedented in any other sport or entertainment sector.

"For clubs to have delivered more than 1,000 new wheelchair bays for fans, and the widespread installation of changing places facilities, show how seriously they have taken this commitment.

"The two-year period to complete the work was a deliberately challenging target. Some clubs, particularly those with very old stadiums, have found significant built-environment challenges.

"For those clubs, money has not been the determining factor but disruption to fans and match-day operations means more time is required."

In response, LPF said: "We were delighted when the Premier League clubs made a commitment to meet their pledge two years ago.

"We are therefore disappointed that a number of clubs have failed to meet the requirements of that self-imposed pledge and have let their disabled fans down."

"We are seeking urgent assurance regarding what happens next and how much longer the existing Premier League clubs will be given to meet their obligations."

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