On 23rd October 2016, Mr Hutchings attended Twickenham Stadium with his Personal Assistant to watch an American Football Game ran by the National Football League (NFL). Mr Hutchings is registered Blind and in order for him to experience the game, he expected to be provided with a headset for audio descriptive commentary.
The RFU has available a number of headsets which provide audio descriptive commentary for matches, which are routinely used by visually impaired visitors to Twickenham. On this occasion, Mr Hutchings was not provided with a headset and as a result he was left with a poor experience at the stadium.
Drawing these issues to the attention of the RFU has resulted in an apology to Mr Hutchings, a financial settlement and a commitment to making their services more accessible for visually impaired visitors to Twickenham. As part of its ongoing work to improve accessibility to Twickenham, the RFU continues to engage Level Playing Field to make improvements to the matchday experience for disabled visitors, including training for staff and stewards, providing a wider availability of audio descriptive headsets and physical improvements to Twickenham Stadium and a commitment to improving the accessibility of its website.
Mr Hutchings is an experienced campaigner and runs Disability Watford which is a registered Charity focusing on access and inclusion and has offered to work with the RFU to help with its continuing programme of accessibility moving forward.