Crystal Palace football club criticised by charity for failing to meet disabled toilet promise
Crystal Palace are one of 13 Premier League clubs that have failed to meet a pledge made in August 2015 provide a fully accessible toilet for disabled fans within two years, according to a learning disability charity.
The facilities, known as changing places toilets, are larger than standard lavatories as they have additional equipment, including an adjustable changing bench, hoist, privacy screen and enough room for up to two carers.
Mencap believes they are essential for more than 250,000 British people with severe disabilities who need help going to the toilet, and they cost about £10,000, which is a day’s pay for many Premier League players.
Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Southampton all have one registered facility, while Leicester City has one unregistered toilet and West Ham three, having inherited them with the London Stadium.
Bournemouth, Everton, Sunderland and Watford have promised to install one by August, but Mencap is unaware of any plans to do so at Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Spurs, Stoke, Swansea or West Brom, with the three clubs promoted last season developing plans for 2018.
Mencap, which campaigns on behalf of 1.4 million with a learning disability in the UK, said it was focusing its efforts on getting Premier League clubs to meet the pledge but said several English Football League clubs, including Brighton, Chesterfield and Preston, have installed a facility, too.
The charity’s activism manager Clare Lucas said: “It’s inexcusable for over half of the Premier League to be without fully accessible toilets for all disabled fans.
“Nobody wants to leave a game halfway through to go home just to use the toilet, but without a Changing Places facility the only other option is the degrading experience of being changed on what may be a dirty, unhygienic toilet floor. This is not a choice anyone should have to make.
“We are nearing the 2017 deadline for the accessibility promise that 17 of the current Premier League teams signed up to yet many are no closer to fulfilling that pledge than they were in 2015. For such big clubs there is simply no excuse.
“They have the space and the money to install Changing Places or at least temporary Changing Places solutions like Mobiloos’, for teams expecting to move stadiums. It’s time for these clubs to step up and support their disabled fans, as they support their team, so that everyone can enjoy watching their team play.”
A Crystal Palace spokeswoman said: “The deadline to comply with various aspects of the accessibility guidelines is the start of the new season and we are on track for that.”