Chelsea’s first season under the ownership of Roman Abramovich
Chelsea Football Club was a victim of misinformation received from the
football hierarchy. The Club believed that they were likely to leave
themselves open to prosecution if they didn’t charge their disabled
supporters the same as their non-disabled ones for match tickets. They
believed this was deemed to be true equality of opportunity as defined
by the Disability Discriminations Act.
Chelsea made clear its' intention to charge full price for disabled
tickets there was huge controversy from the majority of it’s disabled
and non-disabled supporters. A demonstration was arranged by the supporters
and The Sun newspaper offered suitable condemnation in the media.
of the controversy, Peter Kenyon, then Chelsea’s Chief Executive,
decided to contact The National Association of Disabled Supporters'
(NADS) to ask their point of view. He soon realised that they would
only be breaking the law if they charged disabled fans more than non-disabled
fans. Therefore their intentions were legal but as money wasn’t
an issue, he asked NADS what could be regarded as good practice.
suggested the following course of action to Chelsea FC:
If money is not an issue, then you are within your rights to offer a
zero charging policy but it would be a good practice to involve your
disabled supporters in making this decision and…
b. As a disabled supporters’ organization isn’t in existence,
Chelsea could take the opportunity of following good practice again
by establishing a ‘Chelsea Disabled Supporters' Association’.
accepting the above, and following discussions with disabled members
and season ticket holders a Chelsea Disabled Supporters' Association
was set up (us) and the formation of this together with the new zero
charging policy for disabled supporters was announced at a press conference
on Thursday 23rd March 2006. The new pricing policy was to become active
at the beginning of the 2006/2007 season. During this season issues
arose regarding this policy. The main issue was now that disabled members
were being denied the opportunity to purchase tickets if they wished
to do so. The Club listened to its disabled supporters and issued a
new disabled ticketing policy for the 2007/2008 season. This policy
addressed the 'purchase of tickets' issue. Disabled ticketing is now
discussed annually at the CDSA's meetings with the club.