Disabled football fans criticize Fox Sports and Channel Seven for occupying the only available wheelchair spaces at the MCG, leaving them unable to watch the first game of the year.
- Disabled fan posted photos of MCG
- The wheelchair space is dominated by broadcasters
- Fans were furious when the men’s view was blocked.
Channel Seven and Fox Sports have come under fire from irate football fans who were unable to watch the AFL season opener because the announcers had occupied the only wheelchair space on one level at the MCG.
James Williams and another wheelchair-bound man were shown with their view of the action in Thursday night’s Richmond vs Carlton game completely blacked out after AFL TV rights holders took up residence in the area.
A furious Williams posted the footage on Twitter, writing: “Unfortunately this is the reality of requiring the use of a wheelchair to go to football.”
‘@FOXFOOTY and @7Sport occupying the only wheelchair spaces available on level 4 of the @MCG.
‘Do better @AFL, we need you to do better’.
Channel Seven’s commentary panel is seen in the background of the image James Williams (right) posted from “the only wheelchair bay” on level four of the MCG on Thursday night.
The other photo of Williams features the Fox Sports panel and shows that the view has been completely blocked for anyone in a wheelchair.
The footage showed the panel of commentators and camera operators from Seven and Fox in the background, as well as several able-bodied viewers who appeared to be unaffiliated with the broadcasters.
Williams’ post left soccer fans outraged.
‘What a disgrace. Shameful!’ wrote a commenter.
‘Are you kidding? This is an absolute disgrace of @FOXFOOTY!!!’ another fan said.
‘@FOXFOOTY you have comment boxes and a full press pack wing to use. Unacceptable,” added another.
The Twitter post left soccer fans outraged, with several calling the broadcasters “an embarrassment” after seeing the footage.
The two men seemed to have no hope of seeing action in the season opener (pictured) unless they moved to another area of the field.
“The inhumanity it takes to look at handicap spaces and think ‘fuck it, let’s use it’ is astounding,” another commenter wrote.
“They could speak from an indoor conference room and green screen the crowd like they usually do when they call the game from the studio,” one fan noted.
Williams later posted an update on the situation with a photo showing him and the other fan with a good view after they were moved to another section of the level behind the goal posts.
“Some lovely staff at @MCG have moved us to level 4,” he wrote.
They have promised a quick follow up with @7AFL and @FOXFOOTY and we will continue the conversation to do better.
‘The story is not over. #accessmatters’.
The MCG website’s information on wheelchair seating states: ‘Accessible seating is available at all booths at the MCG. Availability depends on the event.’
It also informs fans that accessible seating is available on level four of the MCC Members Reserve, the Ponsford Grandstand and the Olympic Grandstand.