English League Two club Salford City has announced that its next fixture against Sutton United will be an Autism Awareness Match Day, ahead of World Autism Awareness Day.

The football club has said that it will be a ‘bespoke’ match day experience that is more empathetic for individuals with autism. The day has been planned in collaboration with Foundation 92, an independent registered charity and the official charitable partner of Salford City.

Being played tomorrow (29 March) the game is set to celebrate autism awareness ahead of World Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday 2 April. 

Hannah Bermudez, Director of People and Culture at Salford City, said: “The club and the Foundation are both passionate about using football as a platform to achieve true acceptance.

“Throughout the week we are focusing on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, as part of World Autism Awareness Day 2024.”

As part of the experience, the club and charity have curated sensory bags for individuals who need them on match days, which have been funded by the Premier League Fans Fund – a commitment from the Premier League to fund projects and organisations that improve the relationship between fans and their clubs and enhance the way supporters engage with each other.

The bags will contain fidget toys, stress balls, a sunflower lanyard, sunflower seeds and plant pots to decorate as well as colouring books and more. Additionally, the club has announced that ear defenders will also be available to purchase from the club shop from Friday. 

Bermudez added: “The aim of this week is to help supporters and staff understand the challenges faced by people with autism, and help to create an environment where they are fully supported and championed. 

“We have already started this by providing additional training for staff, and setting activities for our Academy players to complete to increase their understanding of autism.

“People with autism face discrimination and barriers across all sectors of society and we want to show our support to help overcome those barriers and use our voice to champion inclusivity, along with doing what we can to make watching Salford enjoyable for everyone.”

The international stage has also been used to push charitable initiatives this week, with the men’s England team playing the second half of its Belgium fixture without names on the back of kits, raising awareness for Alzheimers.

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