A Stonehaven youngster has found himself at the centre of an argument regarding disabled seating in Scottish football grounds.
Football fanatic Finlay Sangster (9), travelled down to Hampden on Monday to see Scotland play against world champions Germany, but was left disappointed when his view of the pitch was obstructed by advertising billboards.
As a wheelchair user, Finlay was seated at ground level with the pitch, and extra advertising billboards meant that he couldn’t see the match from the disabled seating area.
Finlay’s mum Gail told the Leader that others in the area were forced to leave the match, as they were unable to watch it from their vantage point.
She said: “Luckily for Finlay, his dad put him on his knee so that he could see. But there was a grown man next to Finlay who was unable to see, and didn’t have the option of being lifted out of his wheelchair. It’s a disappointment. It was a big game and Finlay had travelled all the way down there. he is a huge football fan.
“I personally feel that disabled fans are a bit of an afterthought when it comes to seating in Scottish stadiums. They are the last people considered. It’s a bit rubbish that advertising would be more highly prioritised than supporters.”
Gail added that, at a recent trip to Manchester’s Old Trafford she was impressed with the seating arrangements for disabled supporters, and saw a stark difference to the seating provided in Scottish stadiums that they have visited.
She added: “We have taken Finlay to Hampden, Ibrox and Parkhead, and at each of them the seating for wheelchair users isn’t great. Usually Finlay can see, but it’s not ideal. At Old Trafford the seating was about fifteen rows up, and we had a fantastic view.
“When Finlay got up on Tuesday morning he just said to me ‘Mum, it was atrocious”.
When a friend of the family tweeted a picture of Finlay’s view at the game, it was retweeted more than 100 times.
The Scottish Football Association released the following statement on Monday evening: “The Scottish FA apologises unreservedly to those supporters accommodated in the South Stand accessible areas whose view was seriously restricted by the double television production.
We will offer a full refund to those supporters affected and will review matters ahead of the European Qualifier against Poland next month.