Determined to kick out racism

Latics players Emmerson Boyce and Andrew Taylor backing the Kick It Out campaign
Latics players Emmerson Boyce and Andrew Taylor backing the Kick It Out campaign

THEY hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last year, but Wigan Athletic are determined to repair their tarnished image.

Tomorrow everyone involved with the club - players and fans alike - will show their support for the anti-racism Kick It Out campaign during their game against Bournemouth at the DW Stadium.

Before kick-off, players from both teams will be warming up in Kick It Out T-shirts to show their support for the campaign and throughout the week the club has been highlighting its work around equality and diversity.

In November club owner Dave Whelan caused a storm with his racist comments as he defended his appointment of Malky Mackay as the club’s new manager. He is subsequently serving a ban from all football-related activities after the FA found him guilty of making abusive comments and improper conduct.

But staff at the club have worked tirelessly - and continue to do so - to promote the DW Stadium as a family-friendly environment, for people of any background to watch football, while through its charity, Wigan Athletic Community Trust, it runs sports, health and education projects that reach thousands of people a year across Wigan.

One aspect of equality the club has highlighted has been surrounding matchday accessibility for disabled people.

Norma Sherratt, Disability Liaison Officer, said: “We always do everything we can to assist supporters, both home and away, whether that be providing accessible car parking spaces, assistance within the stadium or moving fans who temporarily need use of a wheelchair platform.

“I have known many of our disabled fans for several years and have a great relationship with them. I am always keen to speak to the disabled fans who visit the stadium and to find out exactly how the Club can provide a fully accessible match day experience for them.

“If anybody has any special requirements inside the stadium, I can provide a confidential registration form on request and from there we can cater for any individual needs.

“Before every home game, I also send out accessibility information to visiting clubs, including my details, enabl.

“After kick off, I always go to the disability platforms in the away end and speak to those using the areas to see if they have had any issues or have any suggestions that they would like to pass on.

“The club also provide a hearing loop system for visually impaired fans, which connects to the match commentary to provide an audio description of the game.

“Headsets can be collected from the Ticket Office before kick off with a deposit, which is then refunded upon their return.”