Manchester United are taking a major step toward accessibility.
Earlier today the club announced that they would be undertaking renovations at Old Trafford to better accommodate disabled fans. The changes to the stadium, which will allow a further 300 disabled supporters to attend home matches, are set to be completed by the start of the 2017-18 season.
Club executive Richard Arnold says the move is a no-brainer and is in line with United’s core values.
”Old Trafford is a home for all United fans and these changes will help many more of our loyal disabled supporters to attend games to watch their heroes. Manchester United prides itself on its work in this area for more than 25 years, and will continue to ensure that it remains at the forefront of our thinking.”
The renovations will necessitate relocating 2,600 season ticket holders elsewhere in the stadium. Arnold said United are committing to working with these fans to ensure a smooth and amicable transition.
”We know that many of the affected season-ticket holders have held their seats for decades and it will be a sacrifice to give them up. But we also know that the vast majority will understand and support this expansion.”
Penny Mordaunt, a Conservative MP and current government minister serving the country’s disabled population, hailed the move on Twitter.
The announcement from United comes a little over a week after the release of a government report chastising Premier League clubs for dragging their feet on accessibility accommodations. The report accused top flight clubs of prioritizing profits and expediency over disabled access, and that the league isn’t doing enough to enforce accessibility guidelines. Premier League officials had committed to division-wide facility improvements to better accommodate disabled fans by August 2017, though there are legitimate fears now that at least a few clubs— notably Liverpool and Chelsea— will not meet that target.