Disabled footie photographer ordered offside by club officials
A football club used “recently tightened health and safety laws” as an excuse to ban a disabled sports photographer from doing his job at the side of the pitch during a League One match recently.
Freelancer Mike Kunz, who has had both legs amputated, uses a wheelchair and normally sits alongside other photographers to cover events. However, at match between Yeovil Town and Hartlepool United at the latter’s Victoria Park ground, he was told his wheelchair posed a danger to players who could collide with him, should they leave the field during the match.
Even though Mr Kunz tried to compromise by offering to get out of the chair so it was out of the way, Hartlepool United officials refused to allow him to stay, saying they had recently tightened up their health and safety restrictions on match days and have a responsibility to keep their players safe.
Mr Kunz said he has never had a problem covering games from the side of the pitch in the 10 years he has been doing so.
A spokesman for Hartlepool United said: “We’re well aware of the Disability Discrimination Act but we must ensure that everything is safe for players, officials and spectators on match day.
“In the past we had an incident where a player was injured and missed games after sliding into photography equipment on the side of the ground.
“We have tightened up our health and safety restrictions on match day and we have a responsibility to our players and to Mr Kunz to ensure the safest possible working environment.
“He was allocated a spot in the away end which is just two metres further back from where he would have been on the pitch side.”
To read the full story in the Peterlee Mail, click here.
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