Newcastle Falcons raise wheelchair user passes

A RUGBY club has been accused of “kicking wheelchair users in the teeth” by charging only them more.

Disabled Falcons fan David Summers is unhappy that season ticket prices for wheelchair users have gone up

A RUGBY club has been accused of “kicking wheelchair users in the teeth” by charging only them more.

Disabled David Summers, who has been to every game for the 12 years, was shocked to find out wheelchair season tickets with the Newcastle Falcons were the only passes to be raised in price this summer.

Concessions have been made available to pensioners, students and the unemployed, but cut-price tickets for wheelchair users have been removed.

Now the 47-year-old, who broke his back in a horse riding accident, has to pay £109 extra to watch his favourite team battle it out from the same stand he always has. He said: “The Falcons promised that every season ticket is cheaper than the last two seasons, and the price reduction is reflected throughout the stadium for every ticket, every stand and every game.

“Yet wheelchair concessions were removed so that all disabled people could be treated the same.

“We don’t want to be treated differently, just to pay a fair price. It seems strange that the wheelchair users are being singled out in this manner.”

The witness liaison officer, who lives in Dial Place, Warkworth, Northumberland, with his wife Elaine, an estate and property officer for Newcastle City Council, said his season ticket had gone up from £290 to £399 this year.

He continued: “Wheelchair users cannot just sit anywhere. Pitch-side seats are all that are available to us, yet they are eight inches below the level of the playing surface.

“And the eye level of the row behind us is some 3ft above ours. Spectators constantly walk and stand in front of us, as well as coaches and camera crew.

“It was such a shock to see the price going up. I thought it must have been a mistake. It feels like a kick in the teeth.”

Refusing to comply to the extra charge, David and 43-year-old Elaine have bought a season ticket in a different part of the ground which was £16 more than what they paid last year.

Instead of being seated in the centre, they now will have to watch the Falcons from the end of the ground.

A spokesman from the club said: “Newcastle Falcons no longer wishes to positively discriminate against disabled visitors. Therefore concessions are no longer offered because of this.

“Although positive discrimination is legal under the Disability Discrimination Act, further reading of the document suggests we should treat all disabled people equally and should not discriminate against different types of disability.”

David J Roberts, Falcons commercial director, told Mr Summers: "I understand your concerns, and we will do whatever we can to accommodate your enjoyment of watching the Falcons as a loyal supporter."


David Whetstone
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Graeme Whitfield
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