The EFL is proud to be supporting Level Playing Field’s Weeks of Action which will take place from Saturday 27 February – Sunday 14 March. The annual initiative promotes the importance of access and inclusion for disabled fans across all sports.
EFL Clubs, Disabled Supporters Associations (DSAs) and fans will come together to showcase the good work taking place across the League to support fans with disabilities.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and as part of EFL’s commitment to equality and inclusion, its Clubs and CCOs have continued to deliver a range of disability programmes to help members of the local community during these challenging times. Regular contact with disabled fans has been at the forefront of some of this work, providing much-needed support to those separated from friends and family.
This year’s Weeks of Action will help to raise awareness of the importance of live sport for people with disabilities – both as participants and spectators – in providing a sense of community.
In May 2020, Level Playing Field surveyed close to 600 disabled supporters from across the football pyramid to find out the impact the global pandemic has had on these fans in being unable to attend live matches. Of the respondents, 62% stated that if they were unable to return to live sport during the 2020/21 season, they feared it would have a considerable impact on their personal wellbeing.
Tony Taylor, Level Playing Field Chair, said: “We have all had a challenging 12 months. Last year, everyone felt the impact of the pandemic and a number of our great pleasures in life were taken away from us – not being able to attend football matches was most definitely one of these.
“For football fans across the country, their club is a massive part of their identity; months are planned around the fixture list following their team home and away. Losses can feel devastating and wins bring euphoria.
“When the sport was suspended in March last year, it was not just a stop to live sport. It felt like a separation.
“Our Weeks of Action will showcase that attending a football game is more than simply watching a game. It is about connecting with your community and socialising, providing a positive attitude leading to better physical and mental health. With no supporters in attendance, we know this year’s campaign will look and feel very different. But this pandemic will ease eventually. When it does, we want disabled people to return to live sport in the knowledge that it is safe and accessible for all.”
For more information about Level Playing Field, visit: www.levelplayingfield.org.uk.