Our sister organisation in England and Wales, Level Playing Field, has published the summary report from its recent Covid-19 fan survey.

The survey saw close to 600 participants share their opinions on how the suspension of live sport, due to COVID 19, has impacted their personal and psychological wellbeing.

Disabled supporters were also asked for their thoughts on the resumption of live sport in England and Wales behind closed doors.

The report clearly shows that many disabled supporters feel that attending live sport is important for their overall health and wellbeing. 43% of the people who took part in the survey stated that the suspension of live sport had an significant impact their mental health, while 62% of supporters stated that if they were unable to return to sport next season, they fear it would have a huge impact on their own personal wellbeing.

79% of participants fell within the UK Government's 'high risk' category, meaning that they may potentially face the longest wait until they are able to return to public gatherings and social events.

A number of leagues in England and Wales have already confirmed that no further fixtures will be played this season, however where live football is to be played it will be behind closed doors with no supporters able to enter the stadiums.

86% of supporters expected clubs to provide live streaming services when asked what adjustments or alternatives they would like to see if clubs ban all supporters from attending games. 50% stated they would request alternative matchday viewing spaces.

The survey finds that there is a significant concern from disabled supporters about returning to watch live sport. In fact, 12% of respondents state that they’d been put off attending live sport ever again. However, 81% of disabled fans indicated that they have already renewed season tickets, or planned to do so, despite the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty around the return of fans to stadiums in England and Wales.

Speaking on the publication of the report, Level Playing Field Chair Tony Taylor said, "There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our way of life. As an organisation that represents disabled sports fans it is important that we can measure the impact; ensure that disabled fans’ views are not being overlooked and provide information to clubs, leagues and government as they plan their way through this unprecedented situation".

"Our survey results from nearly 600 fans have endorsed what Level Playing Field already knew - how important attending live sport is for so many disabled people. But even we were shocked by the extent of the fear and anxiety expressed by some of the responders. Level Playing Field will ensure that this is shared widely with clubs and governing bodies. I am confident that they will find the data from this survey will support them in decision making and planning as sport begins to resume”, added Tony.

The full report is available to download now via the Level Playing Field website.

CAFE is currently liaising with key partners and stakeholders to assess the impact of Covid-19 on disabled fans across Europe. We are also working to ensure that disabled fans are not adversely impacted when it is safe for spectators return to the stands, and are welcomed back into an accessible and inclusive environment.

For more information on Level Playing Field's report, please visit www.levelplayingfield.org.uk or email [email protected]. You can also follow Level Playing Field's updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Published 11/6/2020