Albion's powerchair team captain has hailed the Amex match experience.
Brighton and Hove Albion’s England powerchair football international is urging disabled Seagulls fans not to miss out on live football because of concerns over facilities.
Matt Francis captains Albion’s powerchair team in the top flight of the National League and is on course to play for England at next year’s World Cup.
As an avid Albion fan, Matt travels home and away watching the Seagulls and has experienced some less-than-perfect facilities. However, to mark Disabled Access Day which takes place today, Saturday 12th March, he wants to encourage other disabled football fans to visit the American Express Community Stadium.
The 18-year-old, who uses a powered wheelchair said, “The facilities at The Amex are absolutely fantastic.
“There is a nice balance of seating both at pitch level and mid-tier, which gives fans the choice of where in the stadium they would like to sit, just like any other fan. Every stand has disabled seating, which is extremely rare in English football.
“Travel to and from games is stress-free and the stadium has a Changing Places toilet, complete with hoist and wet room facility, including a sluice bed. Some hospitals I have visited for check-ups and treatment do not have as impressive facilities.”
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The Amex has 175 wheelchair spaces and accompanying carers are given free entry.
There are 30 disabled toilets and another 35 larger toilets are accessible by wheelchair users. The club also runs familiarity tours for supporters so they can experience visiting the stadium ahead of the hustle and bustle of a matchday.
There is a hearing loop which allows fans with hearing devices to listen to safety announcements and matchday entertainment, with the club providing descriptive match commentary for the visually impaired.
Matt also had this message to other disabled Brighton fans, “Don’t be apprehensive about coming to a match.
“Football is brilliant at bringing people together and that is something that the Albion are really good at.
“You can come to a game at the Amex and for 90 minutes you are just a football fan like everyone else.”
To find out more, please email Elliott Batchelor, the club’s designated contact for disabled fans, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.