Communications News: Elite football clubs' websites fall foul of access legislation

Ability Net has branded the websites of all 20 English Premiership football teams illegal, after its latest State of the enation survey found that none of them met the needs of disabled online fans.

Every website fell short of the three-star minimum grade required, and only Manchester United's alternative site, manutd.com/access, was awarded more than a one-star rating. However, the charity only gave it two stars, because even that site failed to satisfy basic criteria. It said the signpost from the main site would be missed by disabled users.

Faced with these results, Chelsea, Everton and Premium TV, which hosts the sites for 10 clubs, have pledged to improve accessibility standards.

League champions Arsenal and Liverpool were notable omissions from this group.

Robin Christopherson, Ability Net's web consultancy manager, who is blind, said: "It is illegal to bar disabled visitors from online services offered to the general public."

Results broadly echo findings from the charity's previous web-based surveys, which reflected poorly on leading airlines, newspapers, banks and supermarkets (Third Sector, 7 July).

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