Manchester City Football Club Opens Sensory Viewing Room For Fans With Autism

"Sat trying to hold back tears...the possibility of taking my son to a match is incredible!"
Manchester City

Manchester City football club has unveiled a new sensory room at the Etihad Stadium for fans with sensory processing issues like autism.

The room, which is accessible to families during matches, is intended to help all fans come to the ground - even if they struggle with crowds or loud noises.

The space was specially designed with these concerns in mind and includes a full, unrestricted view of the pitch, as well as a quiet space, seating away from the pitch and a separate, dark room with sensory toys.

The club says it is a safe and controlled environment to watch the game and it hopes the room will make it easier for parents to bring children who are otherwise unable to watch the match in person - part of the club’s goal to make football more inclusive for all fans.

The space will be officially opened at the home game against Aston Villa on 26 October and will be in use throughout the season on match days. It’ll also be used during non-match day sessions with City in the Community – the club’s programme to create opportunities for local people using football.

Families who are eligible to use the space will also be able to visit the room before attending a game to assess its suitability to their requirements.

“After a period of successful trials we are delighted to open a sensory room,” said Danny Wilson, operations director at Manchester City.

“The positive feedback we received means we know that this is a space which will help those with sensory processing issues enjoy their experience without the sometimes-overwhelming sounds, sights and crowds of a usual match day.”

The room was built in conjunction with feedback from local families who need the service to attend matches.

Parents have responded to the announcement, saying it will make the world of difference to them and their families. One on Twitter said: “Sat trying to hold back tears on the train home from work here. The possibility of finally taking my son to a match is incredible. What a club!”

Another said it was “amazing news” and she hopes to bring her autistic son to games in the future.

Adults with autism also said they loved seeing football being made more inclusive.

Other parents said they wished their clubs would follow suit.

Manchester City say fans who want to find out more about the sensory room should call 0161 444 1894 (option 1, option 2, option 2) to speak to a member of the Access Team.