Wednesday 28 September 2016

Manchester United defend stewards after crutches and walking sticks are taken off away fans

Published 06/06/2015 | 11:37

Old Trafford, where some Arsenal fans were forced to surrender their walking aids last month
Old Trafford, where some Arsenal fans were forced to surrender their walking aids last month

Manchester United have defended the conduct of their stewards after they took walking aids off some Arsenal fans during the final home game of the season at Old Trafford.

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Upon entering the ground on May 17, a number of away supporters had their crutches and walking sticks taken away from them and they were not returned until after the final whistle.

The incident has not gone down well with the The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which is now seeking talks with the club, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

United defended their approach on Saturday morning, claiming walking sticks and other aids can be used as weapons.

"Our club policy is to encourage any supporters who require the use of crutches or a walking aid to contact the club in advance to ensure each case is adequately risk assessed and that we can ensure safe evacuation in the event of emergency," a United spokesperson said.

"On some rare occasions, we have also experienced such devices being used as weapons. This policy is displayed at the turnstiles and on our website. The disability liaison officers from both clubs also communicate this policy in advance.

"Where supporters arrive without having pre-notified us of the need for such devices, our stewarding team performs a dynamic risk assessment which usually involves finding a solution to accompany the supporter to their seat and storing the walking device during the game.

"At the game in question a significant number of visiting supporters who had not pre-notified the club arrived with walking devices.

"Therefore the above system was put into place."

United denied reports disabled supporters had been denied entry.

"No person was refused entry to the stadium," the spokesperson added.

"Manchester United prides itself on ensuring that all supporters can safely be accommodated at Old Trafford."

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