Premier Rugby launches a disability study across the Zurich Premiership clubs
21 July 2003 16:28pm
Premier Rugby, in partnership with Zurich, has today begun research into the accessibility of the 12 Zurich Premiership grounds for people with disabilities.
Alastair Hignell, the BBC Radio Five Live commentator and former England International, David Thomas, former first class cricket professional, and Mick Hogan, Premier Rugby's community marketing manager, have been appointed to carry out the research. Both Alastair and David are disabled and will therefore be able to bring an invaluable personal perspective to the study.
The research, which is likely to be completed by the end of the year, will include two visits to each Zurich Premiership ground - one on a non-matchday and the other on a matchday, at which a questionnaire will be given to each disabled spectator.
Questionnaires have already been distributed to a number of disabled supporters to seek views on the current facilities and what improvements should be made.
The aims of the study are:
* Comprehensively review the current situation at each of the twelve Zurich Premiership clubs
* Positively influence the attitudes of all those involved in premiership rugby towards disability issues and the need to address them
* Offer short-term solutions to each club on areas they can improve upon, for example, staff training, signage and ticket ordering systems
* Advise the clubs on the changes that will be required to be made to the physical features of the grounds to comply with the new provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act which comes into force in October 2004
Alastair Hignell believes this is a crucial study for the clubs: "As attendance across the Zurich Premiership continues to grow it is vital that the sport remains inclusive and accessible for everyone."
"This study will review every aspect of the premiership rugby experience from booking tickets to arriving at the stadium to having a beer after the game. It will hopefully prove invaluable to the clubs as they continue to develop their stadia to meet the growing demands of the sport."
The report is likely to be completed early in the New Year.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.