Manchester United has confirmed plans to enhance its facilities for disabled supporters that will see “significant structural work” carried out at Old Trafford.
The structural changes will be completed in time for the new 2017/2018 season and will create over 300 new positions for disabled supporters.
The new facilities will see the installation of new wheelchair user platforms; new amenity seats of other disabled supporters; the widening of entrance and exit areas and state-of-art reversible platforms.
The move comes following consultation between the club and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association (MUDSA).
The club consulted with numerous architects and examined a number of options that allow Old Trafford to increase its capacity for disabled supporters.
The changes to famous stadium will mean that 2,600 season ticket holders will be displaced as a consequence. To make the transition easier, the club has proposed a three-year phased scheme to relocate supporters to alternative seats.
Next season, around 800 fans face the prospect of relocation but will compensated by way of a “goodwill package”, which includes free cup tickets for all games played at Old Trafford for a year and the club promising to cover any extra cost if no alternative seats are available in a similarly priced area of the stadium.
Group Managing Director, Richard Arnold, commented: Old Trafford is a home for all United fans. These changes will help many more of our loyal disabled supporters to attend games to watch their heroes. Manchester United prides itself on its work in this area for more than 25 years and will continue to ensure that it remains at the forefront of our thinking.
“We’ve worked openly and continuously for over a year with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association, architects and a significant number of stakeholders including Level Playing Field, supporters groups and the club’s fans’ forum to make sure these improvements take into consideration all affected fans.”
Chas Banks, Secretary of the Manchester United Disabled Supporters’ Association said: “This is a huge task and it can’t be completed overnight. However, it will be completed faster than most believed possible. More importantly, this expansion is the beginning of a process, not the end. Manchester United is constantly looking to improve in every area and I’m confident they will apply that same ambition towards their disabled fans.”
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