‘I’m appalled’: Mother of disabled four-year-old Manchester City fan blasts club for withdrawing free carer tickets

By Sam Ruffe

A mother who accompanies her City-mad disabled son to the Etihad stadium has hit out at the club after they refused her free carer tickets for next season.

Claire Howarth, from Marple, regularly takes her four-year-old son Callum, who has a rare heart condition, to watch his heroes in blue.

But after receiving free carer tickets for last season, Claire has now discovered that a change of policy means she will now have to pay for her own ticket.

“I was absolutely appalled, they have basically withdrawn the carer’s subsidised ticket for a disabled child and not notified any of the supporters that it affects,” she said.

“A disabled supporter cannot travel to a game with any responsible adult or teenager, they have to attend to the game with a person who is medically trained to deal with the eventualities that may arise.

“It is a strange decision, they profess that they are the family club, supporting the fans and working with the fans.

“And then they implement a massive change which affects a minority of supporters but those are those supporters need more help and assistance from the club.”

Under current rules, any child under the age of 14 who attends matches at the Etihad must be accompanied by an adult, whether disabled or not.

City’s new policy is designed so that families of able bodied children do not feel that they are being treated less favourably than those of disabled children.

According to the club, the change in policy is consistent with guidelines set out by the Premier League for clubs with disabled supporters.

And although she acknowledged City’s thought process, Claire heavily criticised the manner in which the club set about the change.

“I can understand the reason behind it. Able-bodied and disabled children shouldn’t be defined differently, or isolate one or make one out to be better than the other or less adequate,” she explained.

“But I think the way the club have handle this with regards to informing parents has just been very poor and not thought through.”

After consultation with a number of affected families, Manchester City have now agreed to apply discounts where appropriate.

A City spokesperson said: “Manchester City actively promotes equality for all supporters in-line with Premier League Guidance and advice from Manchester City Disabled Supporters Association and Level Playing Field.  

“The club will continue to work with all supporters to ensure their needs are met in a fair and non-discriminatory way.”

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