Arsenal have been formally accredited level three Disability Confident Leader status – a first in football.

The Gunners’ ‘Arsenal for Everyone’ campaign has seen them become the first football club to reach Disability Confident Leader status.

Disability Confident is a government-run scheme, which aims to help businesses recruit disabled people and retain them.

Working with disabled people, who make up 17.5% of working age people, in order to help them find and hold down jobs can be massive for their development and lives in general.

What’s more, businesses could be losing out on key workers by overlooking the scheme.

The work Arsenal have done when it comes to facilities, access and ticket availability for disabled fans is what’s gotten them recognised by the government.

“It’s only right that disabled people can go and cheer on their favourite football teams in the same way as their friends and family,” Sarah Newton, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, said.

“The work Arsenal has done to ensure disabled people can access the sport, both as supporters and as employees, is really inspiring and I hope more Premier League clubs will follow their example and become Disability Confident Leaders.”

‘Arsenal for Everyone’ doesn’t just work towards ridding the game of discrimination, the campaign also helps those who may be discriminated against enjoy the game they love in safety and comfort.

The Gunners have now added 241 wheelchair accessible seats located throughout the stadium; 102 Blue Badge Match Day parking places; 38 disabled toilets; a guide dog toilet facility; a Registered Disabled Supporters Scheme (Purple membership), which gives more than disabled 800 supporters the opportunity to buy match tickets at the concessionary rate of half price for themselves and free for their enabler; Disabled Supporters Match Day Lounge Facility available before home games; and visually impaired supporters are offered a dedicated matchday commentary service, free of charge and also audio Matchday programmes (available as a podcast) which is also available free of charge.

Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis said: “We have to ensure we employ a diverse range of people across the club and we see this as a significant achievement and an important step in our on-going inclusion programme, Arsenal for Everyone.”

Although there’s still miles to go, it’s reassuring to see that Arsenal are moving in the right direction and getting recognised for doing so.

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