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Man Utd disabled seating plans split opinions amongst fans

Manchester United have announced that the club will increase capacity for disabled supporters, and says it wants Old Trafford to be a home for all fans.

But the plans mean moving more than 2.500 season ticket holders - and both disabled and non-disabled fans say they've been left with the worst of both worlds.

Our correspondent Ashley Derricott reports.

United open door for more disabled fans at Old Trafford

Manchester United are moving 2,600 fans in order to create 300 new positions for disabled supporters at Old Trafford.

Following consultation with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Manchester United Disabled Supporters' Association (MUDSA), the club on Tuesday announced changes in line with the Accessible Stadia guide.

The structural alterations will be complete in August 2017 and affect 2,600 season ticket holders, with the relocation of those affected phased over three years.

Disabled seating areas will be extended across the East stand at Old Trafford Credit: ITV Granada

United have devised a goodwill package for those supporters being moved, while the changes will eventually see the overall capacity of Old Trafford reduced to around 73,300.

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.

– Richard Arnold, Group Managing Director, Manchester United

The new positions for disabled supporters will see the current East Stand accessible platform extended across and into the Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton Stands.

As the changes are being phased in, the design will incorporate reversible platforms to be used for Premier League and some cup matches.

Season ticket holders in this section of the ground are expected to be relocated over a three year period. Credit: PA Images

I'm filled with pride that the club I've supported since first coming to Old Trafford as a little boy in 1957 is leading the way in increasing accessible seating to meet the standards set out in the Accessible Stadia guide.

It's a dream come true for me and many other disabled United fans.

– Chas Banks, MUDSA

The developments to Old Trafford have been welcomed by Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work.

While we welcome the expansion of disabled facilities to comply with the Accessible Stadia guide / Premier League ‘pledge’ we note with concern the impact that this will have on supporters in existing seats who will be required to relocate to make way for the expanded disabled section.

We have already expressed our view to the Club that no supporter who is compulsorily relocated should suffer any financial loss as a result and we urge the Club to extend the 1 year price freeze they have proposed. We believe it is reasonable to offer a price match guarantee to all relocated fans until such point that they have been offered seating at the equivalent price point to that which applied prior to their relocation.

– Statement, Manchester United Supporters Trust


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