Arsenal FC has become first Premier League club to launch a new service for deaf or hard of hearing fans that use British Sign Language (BSL).
As part of the launch, BSL fans will now be able to engage directly with the club from the Arsenal website via a video link to a fully qualified SignVideo BSL Interpreter who will relay the conversation in real time to the club’s fan services team.
The service can be utilised to make enquiries, purchase tickets for both home and away games, to contact the Arsenal shop, Disability Liaison Team, Customer Service helpline and to book stadium tours.
Speaking to the club’s official website ArsenalFC.com, Alun Francis, Arsenal’s Disability Access Officer, commented: “We recognise that British Sign Language is most deaf people’s first language. As part of our Arsenal for Everyone programme we are committed to making our services as accessible as possible to everyone. This new service is part of this.”
SignVideo, a predominantly deaf-led organisation, provides its service to the government, NHS, councils, UK banks, telecommunications providers, energy providers, helplines and many other types of organisations.
Matthew Sykes, Arsenal fan and BSL user praised the collaboration: “As a lifelong Arsenal fan and Disabled Supporters member I am thrilled that I can now contact Arsenal directly in my first language. This is great news that Arsenal is leading the way in improving communication accessibility for their committed deaf and hard of hearing fans.”
Arsenal leading the way in implementing this type of engagement will be seen as crucial and commendable when it comes to utilising football and sports a tool to engage all communities.
Furthermore, given their expansive global fanbase the Gunners are the perfect fit for this type of collaboration, allowing their fans from all over the world to gain a greater understanding of sign language.