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2023 Level Playing Field Annual Fan Survey results revealed

The top ten barriers to disabled fans attending live sport have been revealed in the 2023 Level Playing Field Annual Fan Survey, with a troubling rise in ‘inaccessible public transport’ and ‘disability abuse’ seen as barriers when attending live sport.

A football ground with the Level Playing Field logo and the words Annual Survey 2023.

A record number of supporters took part in the charity’s third annual survey, in which more than half of disabled fans identified additional disability-related costs to attending live sport and almost a third shared that they had been impacted by the use of flares, smoke bombs, and other such pyrotechnics.

The 2023 survey data displays year-on-year trends for the first time, with troubling rises in the percentage of disabled fans for whom ‘inaccessible public transport’ and ‘disability abuse’ are barriers when attending live sport.

The results that related to barriers experienced by disabled fans showed some positive movement, compared to last year. There were noticeable drops in the percentages of fans for whom ‘physical access at stadiums’ and ‘attitudes of others’ were a barrier. These did remain the top two overall however, emphasising the severity of the issues they continue to pose for more than a quarter of disabled fans across England and Wales.

View the full report published by Level Playing Field.

Data from across the 1791 total responses is displayed in the full report, but fans were given the opportunity to provide club-specific feedback, which has been compiled into individual reports and sent directly to clubs. This has already proved useful for some, in highlighting areas which require urgent action, as well as independently measuring the effectiveness of action taken in recent years.

Chair of Level Playing Field, Tony Taylor, said:

"This is a powerful set of informative results, which will be harnessed to bring about improvements in accessibility and inclusion for disabled fans.
"I am thankful to every fan that completed this year’s survey, for providing us with a collective voice displayed through data.
"It is a useful tool in our advocacy for continued improvements and I am pleased to see the results are already being put to practical use at club level.
"Our ability to monitor trends across the three years has been a key development in this report. The serious concerns around barriers which are impacting increasing proportions of disabled fans will be focused on by Level Playing Field staff. These results provide us with unquestionable evidence to utilise in discussions with other stakeholders, in order to bring about meaningful action."

An online forum will be held on Thursday 2 November, which will include a further briefing on the results and the opportunity for fans to feedback and discuss what the data suggests.

The Zoom call will begin at 5:30pm and is open to both disabled and nondisabled fans. Register your place before midnight on Wednesday 1 November.

Download the 2023 Level Playing Field Annual Fan Survey results as a PDF.