DISABLED Pompey fans will still face a scramble on match days to find reserved parking spaces.
The club appealed to the car park’s owners, a management company working on behalf of former Pompey owner Sacha Gaydamak, to increase the number of free disabled spaces, but were refused.
Last season the spaces behind the stadium’s Fratton End were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, but the limited number of parking spaces meant sometimes many of the fans housed in the disabled area of the ground were unable to park.
This season the spaces will be reserved solely for those fans and their carers who sit in the designated disabled area inside the ground, meaning other blue badge holders will have to park in the main car park further away from the stadium.
However it has been agreed that blue badge holders who are not in the designated disabled seating area can park for £5 in the main car park rather than for the standard charge of £10.
The new rules will come into effect from Saturday, July 16, for Pompey’s friendly at home to Chelsea.
Pompey stadium manager Derek Stone said: ‘We would like to give all our disabled fans a free parking space, but sadly this has not been possible.
‘The owners of the car park, however, have agreed to allow blue badge holders to park at the reduced rate of £5 rather than £10, a gesture we appreciate.’
Fans had hoped that when Convers Sports Initiatives bought Pompey at the beginning of June, the sale included the land that Mr Gaydamak owns.
As well as the car park, he still controls land on Rodney Road.
The 53 free disabled spaces will be for 48 Pompey season ticket holders and five visiting supporters.
Some fans have been calling for part of the players’ secure car park to be opened up for use by disabled fans, or done away with all together.
Alan Taylor, chairman of the PFC Supporters’ Advisory Panel, said: ‘The club’s hands are tied.
‘It is well known that the club no longer owns this parcel of land and I know that Derek Stone would have done the very best he could to get the best outcome, and I am sure he has achieved that.
‘In reality I am not sure how many fans this might affect but I am sure that it will not be that many.
‘The club does all it can to facilitate the disabled fans, indeed some years ago many complaints were received about the state of the surface of the car park and how difficult it was for wheelchair users to negotiate the many potholes.
‘As a result the entire car park was resurfaced at some considerable expense.
‘I appreciate that where once the disabled were able to park free of charge they are now being asked to pay, albeit with a reduced fee.
‘But it must be understood that this charge is not being applied by the club but by the owners of the land.’
To find out more, contact Marie Stedman on (023) 9277 8540 or email email@example.com.