Deaf News: Newcastle United FC allegedly refused to provide sign language interpreter for Deaf mascot – unless father waited outside the ground

Posted on April 3, 2014

It has been alleged on social media that Newcastle United Football Club have allegedly refused to provide a 9 year old Deaf mascot with a sign language interpreter – unless his father waits outside the ground.

The 9 year old boy was due to be the mascot at Saturday’s game against Manchester United, and it is common practice for a parent to accompany their child for what would be a proud day for parent and child alike.

However, according to his father, for ‘health and safety’ reasons, the club have refused to give the boy a sign language interpreter unless he waits outside the ground while his son attends the event with an adult he’s never met before.

The other option the parents say they were given was for the club to provide no sign language interpreter at all – with the father fulfilling that role instead. Is it really too much to ask for the parents of a Deaf child to attend an event without having to be their child’s interpreter for the day?

The boy’s father, Benjamin Wassall, left a post on the Spit the Dummy BSL Act campaign group on Facebook last night saying:

So Newcastle United ask my 9 year old son, Deaf, to be the mascot for Saturday’s game against Manchester Utd. However, due to health and safety on the day cannot allow an interpreter to attend in order to provide access unless I wait outside the ground and he attends the event with the interpreter. Do believe, this is not the remit of an interpreter. Alternatively, I could be his interpreter for the afternoon, even though I’m his dad and despite the fact I am not qualified to do this highly skilled job. No more solutions offered. Both of us truly fed up by the lack of real access and understanding regarding interpreters. Great PR from NUFC! Time to phone local rag and spit the dummy!

His mother, Rebecca, added on Twitter:

The club’s actions have already generated a negative response, with one Tweeter pointing out:

After our story went out, the club replied on Twitter, saying:

Let’s hope they can find a positive solution soon.

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