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Premier League: 'Stop making excuses' over disabled facilities

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has told ITV News London she wants Premier League clubs "to stop making excuses" and deliver on their promise to deliver better facilities for disabled fans at football grounds.

Credit: PA

Chelsea and Watford won't meet this month's deadline, which was agreed by clubs, to offer the required number of disabled spaces.

Credit: PA

Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson is calling for clubs to be sanctioned, if this continues.

One of the reasons legislation was avoided about eighteen months ago was because they (Premier League clubs), promised that by 2017 there would be significant progress and that just hasn't happened and for football fans it just means that they're either in bad seats or they're not able to watch the game.

– Baroness Grey-Thompson

Disabled Chelsea supporter Lisa Hayden says she feels let down.

It's like we don't matter, it's quite heartbreaking in a way that we spend all this money travelling up and down the country following our teams and this is what we get back.

– Lisa Hayden, disabled Chelsea supporter

Lisa always gets a seat at home matches because she's been a season ticket holder for a decade, but she claims she and other disabled fans would be better off watching the match on the television, as their view is often obscured by people standing in front of the disabled area.

It does spoil a game because sometimes I miss the goals because of where they're positioned. I can't see it at all and people will be saying, 'that was a fantastic goal', but I have to wait to see it at home which is shame.

– Lisa Hayden, disabled Chelsea supporter

Tottenham, West Ham and Arsenal claim they are compliant and Crystal Palace believe they've brought their stadium up to standard since we reported in January that they weren't offering enough spaces.

Arsenal's Emirates Stadium Credit: PA

Watford, however, are expected to have at least 150 wheelchair spaces but only offer 100.

They have told us they plan to offer more spaces in the future but they haven't given a deadline for that, adding:

We are currently considering a number of plans for future stadium expansion, all of which include the remaining wheelchair spaces required.

– Watford FC

In December, the club built a 'Century Room', which offers six families affected by autism a safe environment to watch the match.

A Chelsea spokesman told ITV:

Chelsea Football Club is committed to providing a welcoming and comfortable environment for all our supporters. We continue to investigate opportunities to further improve facilities for our disabled supporters at our current stadium, despite the constraints imposed by its age and design. We are also assisting the Equality and Human Rights Commission in relation to its review of disabled access at Premier League clubs.

– Chelsea FC

The Premier League say it is too early to decide if clubs will be punished because they are still reviewing disabled facilities offered by clubs.

Whilst that continues, fans like Lisa feel they're being let down by the clubs they're so passionate about.