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Jamie Monaghan

Match: Austria vs Ireland

Published: 17/11/2016

 

We had a pleasant experience at the Ernst-Happel stadium. From entry to exit Jamie was able to manoeuvre his wheelchair with ease and free of obstruction and no lifts to navigate, as this section was on ground level. The wheelchair section, signposted throughout, was solely for wheelchair users and ramped where necessary. No other supporters had access to this area other than ground staff and security. This free zone meant that Jamie's overall enjoyment of the match was free of any feelings of anxiety or claustrophobia. For this we are truly grateful.

 

We also received excellent service with regard to refreshments during match time. Stewards asked all wheelchair users and their companions if they wanted any refreshments served to them.

 

We cannot comment on the bathroom facilities as Jamie didn't use them on this occasion. We do accept to our frustration that this can be a major problem with international stadiums with regard to the abuse of these facilities by non-disabled supporters using disabled toilets and leaving them in a very appalling state due to lack of stewardship. We can confirm that English stadiums are very well equipped and policed to eliminate this issue.

 

Even though we found the wheelchair and its viewing point an advantage, in an ideal world, for Jamie's sensory needs as well as being at pitch level, at which this viewing stand had catered for, he lacked the vibes and chanting from the rest of the Irish fans as they were positioned to far away for Jamie to interact with them. Having said that he did enjoy the Austrian fans and their comradery.

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