Women’s football could improve the accessibility of the game for more than a quarter of disabled fans, simply by increasing the information available, says Level Playing Field. More than 1750 disabled fans of women’s football and other sports responded to their survey.
Results from the Level Playing Field survey on disabled supporters of women’s football, showed a ‘lack of information’ was a barrier for attending matches to a significantly higher proportion of fans (26%), than in last year’s annual fan survey across all sports (16%).
The ‘cost of attending’ and ‘difficulty purchasing tickets’ were both shown to be lesser barriers for disabled fans attending women’s football.
Communication is a key area highlighted for improvement, with 38% of respondents rating their club’s ‘communication and marketing when it comes to attracting disabled fans into watching women’s football’ as ‘poor’, ‘very poor’, or ‘non-existent’.
46% of fans listed ‘accessibility information’ as something which would help when planning for and travelling to women’s matches, with only accessible parking ranking higher.
‘Physical access at stadiums’ is the highest ranked barrier at 29% while ‘anxiety or lack of confidence’ (28%) and ‘attitudes of others’ (24%) also received high responses, which Level Playing Field says is in line with data from other sports.
The 10 biggest disability-related barriers fans face when attending live sport:
- Physical access at stadiums
- Anxiety or lack of confidence
- Lack of information
- Attitudes of others
- Unable to travel to stadium
- Difficulty purchasing tickets
- “I don’t think stadiums are inclusive for disabled people”
- Cost of attending
- Stadium policies and rules
- Lack of support from club staff
“Provisions must be improved”
Chair of Level Playing Field, Tony Taylor, said: “This important research will be highly valuable as we look to drive accessibility and inclusion in the women’s game, alongside its ongoing increases in attendances and revenue.
“The first-of-its-kind survey has developed our understanding of the unique landscape within women’s football meaning we are better placed to support fans, clubs, disabled supporters’ associations and governing bodies.
“Whilst many of the key areas of concern are comparable with wider sport, the need to improve accessibility information is a key outlier.
“This is something which we will proactively look to work on with governing bodies and clubs. I hope all parties see this as an opportunity to make immediate, simple and impactful improvements in the way they engage with disabled fans now and in the future.
“We hope to see the growth in the women’s game continue over the coming years and with that growth, provisions for disabled supporters must also be improved.”
The full report on the results from Level Playing Field’s survey on disabled supporters of women’s football, is available here.
The 2023 Level Playing Field Annual Fan Survey received more than 1750 responses and was open to disabled fans of women’s football and all other sports. The results will be released later this year.