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Level Playing Field write to organisers of Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris

This news story details the letter that Level Playing Field is writing to the organisers of the Olympics and Paralympics.

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The Disabled-led charity Level Playing Field a charity that focuses on removing barriers for Disabled people wishing to follow live sports is writing to organisers of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris to raise concerns about the safety of disabled visitors, following a damning report into last year’s UEFA Champions League final. 

The organisation believes that attending and engaging with live sporting events positively impact well-being. It told Disability News Service that it would write to the organisers of both the Rugby World Cup and Paris 2024 to ensure that the events protect attendees.

Owain Davies, LPF’s chief executive, said: “Like any situation where a negative experience happens, there is rightly a fear will it happen again.”

He said LPF would ask the organisers of both events to “learn from the unfortunate events in May 2022”.

An independent panel commissioned by Uefa after the appalling scenes outside the Stade de France last May found that European football’s governing body bore “primary responsibility for failures” that almost led to a “mass fatality catastrophe” in Paris. 

The panel said it was the actions of Liverpool supporters, many with experience of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, that helped prevent a loss of life at the final.

The Liverpool supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly (SOS) and the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association (LDSA) helped compile witness testimonies in the immediate aftermath of the final. Joe Blott and Ted Morris, chair of SOS and LDSA, respectively, gave evidence on behalf of supporters at the French senate hearing last June.

The LDSA chair Ted Morris said: “One of the lessons that must be taken from this report is that in terms of making European football accessible, Uefa has much work to do. We ask that they work with us and seek our expertise to address these injustices and give young disabled supporters from all corners of Europe hope that one day they can follow their football team in the same way that non-disabled children can.

“Equality and fairness should not be a fight; it must be a right. In 2023 and with the knowledge of the terrifying experiences disabled supporters experienced in Paris, this is not and should not be an impossible dream.”

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