Information for the club's disabled supporters
This policy will show how Birmingham City Football Club wishes to underpin their commitment to disabled supporters. This includes supporters with the following conditions:
• Manual dexterity
• Physical co-ordination
• Ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects
• Speech, hearing or eyesight
• Ability to concentrate, learn or understand
• Perception of their risk of physical danger to him or herself or other people
Birmingham City's Designated Disabled Liaison Officer is John Starkey and John can be contacted on 01902 337 955 (during normal office hours 9:00am - 5:30pm). Birmingham City's Acting Consumer Sales Manager Aamir Javaid can be contacted on 0344 557 1875 (option 2) or via email on Aamir.firstname.lastname@example.org
Birmingham City Football Club also takes pride in their new and improved facilities for disabled people.
The club has a strong working relationship with the Birmingham City Disabled Supporters Club (BCDSC) and we are both fully committed for the needs of the disabled supporters. The club also follows the Health and Safety Regulations guidelines and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) where disabled people should not be treated less favourably, and the club adheres to these procedures.
The club also encourages a disabled supporter to bring a Personal Assistant to matches, in particular for safety reasons in the event of an emergency evacuation arising and for general assistance at the stadium. For the avoidance of doubt, a supporter is permitted to bring a child as a personal assistant. All disabled supporters must follow the ground regulations and evacuation contingency plans. In such event; all evacuation procedures will be announced via the stadium PA system and the big screen scoreboard.
Policy definition of a disabled supporter
For the purpose of this policy, the definition of a disabled supporter is as follows:
'Any person, who because of their disability or impairment, is unable to use ordinary stand seating without contravening Health and Safety Regulations, guidelines or policy. Any such persons will be considered for use of the special provision areas of the stadium in line with the procedures set out in this policy.'
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
As a fundamental principle, the Disability Discrimination Act states that disabled people should not be treated "less favourably, without justification" and "reasonable adjustments should be made to make goods, facilities and services accessible". Birmingham City Football Club aim to fully comply with both the provisions and spirit of the Act.
Provision of facilities and amenities - sensory impaired supporters
Hearing impaired supporters
Those supporters with impaired hearing will be able to visit www.bcfc.com pertaining to any services provided by Birmingham City Football Club. The club has a textphone service for hearing impaired supporters. Supporters with impaired hearing can be accommodated in the stadium by various means either in the ambulant disabled designated area at a concessionary rate or it is also possible for them to use ordinary stand seating. Induction loop equipment was installed in November 2004 and is now available at main Kop Reception, Cattell Road, Kop Ticket Office and Club Superstore, Cattell Road. The club also currently has two members of staff able to perform sign language. These members of would be available in circumstances or situations, which may necessitate a signer being present. Further members of staff are to be trained in this area as part of our existing development programme; as part of this programme, the club has an electronic big screen scoreboard at matches which greatly assists the hearing impaired; particularly at times of player substitutions, stadium announcements etc.
Visually impaired supporters
Birmingham City's ticket office will deal with enquiries from visually impaired supporters and the allocation of the places available in the visually impaired persons section of the stadium will be managed by Birmingham City.
The club strongly recommends that each visually impaired person attending a match at St Andrew's should be accompanied by a person who is fully able to support their needs in the event of an emergency.
On match days information will be carried via the public address system.
The criteria for access to this facility requires that each person can provide a copy of their registration document which certifies they are registered blind (or partially sighted), or provide qualifying documentation from their optician equivalent to registration requirements.
Visually impaired supporters wishing to sit in areas of the ground other than the designated ambulatory area will be able to do so by purchasing a ticket in the normal manner.
Should Visually Impaired supporters require a commentary headset these are available upon request and commentary is received via hospital radio. These headsets can be used in any seat in the ground. A limited number of special headsets are available upon request prior to the match via the ticket office and a deposit of £5.00 will be required upon collection.
Visually impaired people wishing to attend a match aided by their guide dog should contact BCFC for all relevant information. Measures will also be taken to ensure that the welfare of the guide dog is preserved.
The club is taking steps to provide accessible information in alternative formats and is committed to having the mechanisms for production of such material.
Provision of facilities and amenities - wheelchair dependent supporters
Birmingham City Football Club takes pride in its new and improved facilities for wheelchair dependent supporters. BCFC and BCDSC wishes to make the most appropriate use of these facilities by providing them to disabled people who are unable to sit in any other part of the stadium. Access to this facility will be by those people who meet the eligibility criteria described overleaf:
Criteria for access to the wheelchair areas
Individuals using, or wishing to apply for use of the wheelchair platforms or areas must meet the following criteria:
Wheelchair using applicants must be largely dependent on a wheelchair for mobility purposes or not capable of walking a distance further than that required to reasonably and safely access any other part of the stadium.
The club recommends that wheelchair dependent applicants be accompanied by a person who is capable of supporting the disabled person's needs in the event of any emergency evacuation.
People wishing to apply for places on the wheelchair platforms or areas should apply to the BCFC ticket office.
Provision of facilities and amenities - supporters with learning difficulties
Supporters with learning difficulties can be accommodated in the stadium by various means but it is normally possible for them to use ordinary stand seating. If, for whatever reason, any person with a learning difficulty feels that ordinary stand seating would be unsuitable for them, they should contact Aamir Javaid (Acting Consumer Sales Manager) at the BCFC ticket office on 0344 557 1875 (option 2) for further information. Supporters with learning difficulties can also be aided by a personal assistant if required.
Provision of facilities and amenities - ambulatory disabled supporters
Birmingham City FC recognises that there are considerable numbers of people in the community who use wheelchairs mainly for outdoor mobility purposes but are not necessarily confined to their wheelchair. There are also many people suffering severe walking difficulties who may wish to watch a match. There are also people with learning difficulties or debilitating illnesses. For the purposes of this policy and the administration of the facility this category of people will be termed 'ambulatory disabled supporters' and they will be asked to follow the procedure below in order to attend a match:
These supporters will be offered the opportunity of being seated in the designated ambulatory area of the stadium. Tickets for people in this position should be applied for by contacting the BCFC ticket office who will provide all the relevant information for applications.
It should be noted that should an ambulant supporter wish to purchase an ambulant ticket in a non-designated ambulant area of the stadium; such ticket will be charged at full match price with no charge for a personal assistant.
A disabled person may be asked by the Club to provide qualifying documentation relating to their condition in order to qualify for a disabled seat.
The club also recognises that disabled people also have families and indeed may wish to attend a match as a family and therefore the club provides a designated ambulatory area within the family stand.
Provision of facilities and amenities - supporters with infirmities
Birmingham City FC recognises that elderly people now form a larger part of the population than younger people. The club therefore recognises that some of its longest serving supporters with infirmities may require to be relocated into a more appropriate area of the stadium.
Provision of facilities and amenities - car parking for disabled supporters
Birmingham City FC provides 6% of its parking places available to disabled supporters. These are allocated to supporters with the most severe mobility difficulties and requests for the remaining places can be made by people with other disabilities. Applications are to be made in writing (either by post, email, fax or textphone) on a seasonal basis (during the annual closed season period of May-July) to the Disabled Liaison Officer, John Starkey, Birmingham City Football Club, St. Andrew's Stadium, Birmingham B9 4RL. Fax: 0121 773 3803; Textphone number to be confirmed shortly. Each request will be judged on its individual merit. Birmingham City would ask that people recognise that there are only a limited number of places available and it will not be possible to accommodate everyone who has a Blue/Orange badge.
Away supporters disabled parking provision
This is available on the visitors' car park, Coventry Road on a 'first come-first serve basis'. Admission is only permitted on this car park up until one hour before kick-off. Away supporters are advised to contact Aamir (BCFC Acting Consumer Sales Manager) prior to the match to ensure that their name is left on the car-parking list on the visitors' car park gate. Please contact the Aamir Javaid on : Tel: 0344 557 1875 (option 2) or via email on Aamir.email@example.com
. These supporters will also be expected to produce their blue/orange disabled parking badge upon arrival at the stadium.
Steps have already been taken to put procedures in place to provide information in formats that are more easily accessible to disabled people. Accessible formats of information have been discussed and mechanisms will shortly be developed to provide information in large print format and electronic format. Birmingham City is committed to have the mechanisms for the production of such material fully functional within the next 2-3 years.
The official Birmingham City website (www.bcfc.com) is run by Sapient Nitro. They consistently monitor the levels of compliance against the Disability Discrimination Act, as well as working on an individual level with a number of disabled fans to deliver best practice across the network of Official Football sites.
Significant resource has been invested in this area and a number of changes have been made to the site structure and our ways of working, to enable us to monitor our current successes and also future development needs in this area.
Currently the areas that we are proficient in are:
• Use of scaleable fonts
• Support for non-java script browsers
• Good cross browser compatibility
• Consistent use of alt-tags on images (with club support)
Areas of non-compliance:
• Use of images as text
• Flashing/rotating images in I-frames
• Colour contrasts
• Pop-up/under advertisements
• Simplified registration form/process (partly delivered via My Account upgrade)
• Mandatory registration removed from non-news sections of the site
• Creation of fully compliant "accessible web sites" with:
• Better colour contrast
• Reduced graphics
It is hoped that the increasing use of the internet will allow more disabled people to access information which they had previously experienced difficulty in obtaining. A link is dedicated on the official website to information specifically relating to disability matters at Birmingham City.
Matchday catering for disabled people is provided in certain concourses within the stadium relative to disabled person's facilities and is dedicated to that facility. However, certain areas of the stadium do not have designated disabled catering facilities and it is therefore advised that for these particular areas, disabled supporters either bring along a personal assistant (no charge for admission to the stadium) or notify the nearest steward who will be happy to provide assistance. For further information on these areas, supporters are advised to contact the BCFC ticket office.
Other facilities, which come under the general heading of catering such as lounges, suites etc are accessible to disabled people by means of a waitress service that is provided. Measures are being taken to provide menus in large print.
Every reasonable adjustment is being made to all the services provided by the different departments of Birmingham City Football Club. Department managers and personnel of marketing, catering, membership etc have now been made aware and instructed to comply with the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act. Access to goods and services, as well as matchday facilities, are being fully assessed and a programme of measures in place to ensure compliance with all associated legislation.
Elements of staff training which relate to 'disability awareness' and 'disability etiquette' have been identified and a training programme will be instituted to ensure that awareness and etiquette are observed. This training programme will be ongoing. Birmingham City are forcefully committed to developing a 'can do' culture by introducing such training which will form the hub of the further development of this policy.
Domestic away matches
Opportunities for disabled supporters to attend away matches are limited by the allocation received from the away club. Co-ordination of these tickets is carried out by the Club's Disabled Liaison Officer John Starkey and the Club's Acting Consumer Sales Manager Aamir Javaid. Please contact John Starkey on 01902 337955 (during office hours only; 9:00am - 5:30pm) or Aamir Javaid on 0344 557 1875 (option 2) or via email on Aamir.firstname.lastname@example.org
for further details. The club also provides a free service mini bus for away games for disabled supporters. Please not that there is a limited number of spaces on the mini bus which will work on a ‘first come-first serve basis'.
Disabled ticketing terms and conditions
A disabled person may be asked by the club to provide qualifying documentation relating to their condition in order to qualify for a disabled seat. Typical evidence that the club could seek would be one of the following:
• Entitlement to the medium or higher rate care component of the disability living allowance
• Entitlement to the middle or higher rate mobility component of the disability living allowance
• Letter of confirmation from the Local Authority Social Services department that the person is in reception of support services
• Letter from the persons General Practitioner confirming that they are a disabled person with a recognised impairment that requires extra help.
Furthermore the club will deem the Disability on the following basis:
1) The impairment must have a 'substantial adverse effect', in this context means 'more than minor or trivial'.
2) The effect must be 'long term' - it must have lasted or be expected to last at least twelve months, or likely to last for the rest of a person's life.
3) The impairment must adversely affect 'normal day-to-day activities'.