The Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle recently highlighted the allocation problems facing disabled R’s fans:
‘QPR are looking to form a disabled supporters ‘ association following howls of protest over the paltry 14 tickets allocated for the Spurs derby on Sunday in a ground that holds 36,000. The 14 disabled fans get a carer’s pass as well, but it pales by comparison with the 3,000 able-bodied Hoops in the away end at White Hart Lane.
Steve Lewington looks after disabled son Aaron at home games, but none of the Lewington family will be in North London after failing to get one of the precious spots. “It’s very disappointing – and we’re not the only ones disappointed,” said Lewington senior. “But it’s like winning the lottery if you get one. From what I’ve been told there are only four places available at Stoke in November for wheelchair users.”
QPR’s allocation for the return game with Spurs on April 21 is currently 13 (26 with carers) in an 18,000-capacity ground. Even that was three more than Tottenham’s original allowance before discussions with Rangers and the Premier League.
A Facebook page calling itself the QPR Disabled Fans Association is not an official body, says the club, but disabled liaison officer Jon Davies will set the wheels in motion to create such a group after meeting Level Playing Field, formerly the National Association of Disabled Supporters. A club spokesman said: “Jon will be meeting with Level Playing Field in early November to discuss ways forward with creating an official DSA, should the disabled supporters wish to form one.”
It would appear the problem of sufficient space for disabled supporters, both ambulant and wheelchair is not Tottenham’s alone. Chelsea and Fulham insist space for disabled fans can be adjusted at their grounds according to demand, but the clubs’ given statistics allow 372 home fans at Stamford Bridge, with places for 18 away. Fulham have space for 101 home fans and 79 away. Even a new stadium such as the Emirates struggles to accommodate large numbers of disabled visitors. The ¬£400million-plus stadium, built just five years ago, has an allocation of 339 for Arsenal fans – and just 44 for the away team.’