Chelsea DSA - Background
 

During 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.

When 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.

Because 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.

NADS suggested the following course of action to Chelsea FC:

a. 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’.

In 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.

 
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