Disability sporting charity, Level Playing Field is delighted to announce the launch of the 2021 Weeks of Action campaign in partnership with the Premier League and the English Football League (EFL).
From 27th February - 14th March 2021, Fans, Clubs, Disabled Supporters Associations and other partners across England and Wales will come together to celebrate the immense power of attending live sport can have on a person’s wellbeing.
Bolton Wanderers Football Club will be supporting the campaign prior to the forthcoming Sky Bet League Two fixture against Barrow on Saturday 27 February.
Our players will be wearing Level Playing Field t-shirts during the warm-up while manager Ian Evatt will be wearing a pin badge throughout the game to show his support.
Bolton Wanderers Community Trust will be sharing content throughout the week through their social media channels highlighting the campaign.
The global pandemic saw last year's Weeks of Action campaign cut short due to Covid-19 with the suspension on live sport.
Supporters missing a bit of live football could pale into insignificance compared to the devastation that 2020 caused to many. Still, Level Playing Field knows the impact that the suspension of attending live sport has had on sport-loving disabled fans.
In May 2020, Level Playing Field surveyed close to 600 disabled supporters from across the football pyramid. 62% of respondents stated that if they were unable to return to live sport this season, they fear it would have a considerable impact on their own personal wellbeing.
Live sport provides community, energy, choice, and a sense of unity. That's why this year's Weeks of Action are as vital as ever in highlighting the importance of live sport with fans
Over the coming weeks, clubs across the leagues will be backing the Weeks of Action campaign through education, projects and matchday events as well as highlighting the work going on by clubs to support disabled and vulnerable supporters during the pandemic through innovative work that’s recognising the importance of live sport for disabled fans.
Tony Taylor, Level Playing Field Chair said: “We have all had a challenging 12 months. Last year, everyone felt the impact of the pandemic and a number of our great pleasures in life
were taken away from us – not being able to attend football matches was most definitely one of these.”
“For football fans across the country, their club is a massive part of their identity; months are planned around the fixture list following their team home and away. Losses can feel devastating and wins bring euphoria.”
“When the sport was suspended in March last year, it was not just a stop to live sport. It felt like a separation.”
“Our Weeks of Action will showcase that attending a football game is more than simply watching a game. It is about connecting with your community and socialising, providing a positive attitude leading to better physical and mental health. With no supporters in attendance, we know this year's campaign will look and feel very different. But this pandemic will ease eventually. When it does, we want disabled people to return to live sport in the knowledge that it is safe and accessible for all.”
Bolton Wanderers Head of Community Trust Phil Mason said: “Level Playing Field is working to remove the barriers that currently exclude disabled people.
“These barriers can be: prejudice and stereotypes, the way things are organised and run, and little or no access to information, buildings and transport.
“This is a very important campaign and it is important we highlight the issues faced and try to do all we can at Bolton Wanderers to create equality of access and remove barriers in our sport.”