Harry Redknapp is teaming up with charity Autism Wessex to launch a campaign to make football more autism friendly.

The Autism Friendly Football campaign will support football clubs to make small changes that will make a big difference to anyone affected by autism.

Harry Redknapp, former Premier League football manager and Autism Wessex ambassador said: “I feel strongly that football should be open to be everyone. It is so important that we remove any barriers that might stop someone from coming along to a match and cheering on their team. That’s why I’m backing this campaign and would urge all clubs to get behind it."

The campaign will kick off at Vitality Stadium at the end of October when Autism Wessex will be working with AFC Bournemouth to deliver autism awareness training to stewards and front of house staff.

Karen Wilmshurst, advocacy services manager at Autism Wessex, said: “Autism is a lifelong, often hidden, disorder that can affect the way that someone thinks, communicates and manages their senses.

"For someone with autism and their family, going to watch their favourite football team play can be overwhelming and stressful; the crowd, noise, smell and the uncertainty about what to expect.

"But like everyone else, watching football can be a brilliant experience, sharing the highs and lows with family and fellow supporters. People with autism should be given every opportunity to join in like everyone else.”

Karen added: "There are easy ways that clubs can ensure that football is open to all of their fans. From autism awareness training for staff, to offering an alternative entrance/exit and having a quiet area that can be used if someone is feeling overwhelmed, there are many small changes that clubs can make to become more autism friendly.

"We would love to work with football clubs of all sizes across the region so whether you are a fan, player or staff member please encourage your club to get in touch and support the campaign.”

Autism Wessex provides varied and far reaching services to anyone affected by autism. These include social care, adult residential services, an information and advice service and education provision, Portfield School.

The charity will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018 and is planning a year-long Autism Friendly campaign.

For further information visit autismwessex.org.uk/autism-friendly-football or call Autism Wessex on 01202 703198.