2013 - A Year in Review
2013 has been yet another landmark year for the Centre for Access to Football in Europe, and one with many successes.
Official charity of the 2013 UEFA Super Cup
CAFE was delighted to be announced as the official charity of the 2013 UEFA Super Cup between Bayern Munich and Chelsea in Prague, Czech Republic. UEFA ran a ticket auction, with all profits donated to CAFE to continue our works in creating an accessible and inclusive matchday experience for all supporters. This gave us an opportunity to promote our message of ‘Total Football, Total Access’, and was a great demonstration of our continued cooperation with UEFA as CSR associate partners. We would like to thank UEFA for this honour, and we look forward to many more successes working together in the future.
CAFE Weeks of Action - Total Football, Total Access
Another major achievement this year has been CAFE’s first-ever weeks of action campaign. The weeks of action took place in Poland and Ukraine as part of our wider legacy work following the UEFA Respect Inclusion – Football with No Limits project delivered by CAFE around UEFA EURO 2012. There was a large number of activities around the campaign, with many clubs, leagues and governing bodies getting on board and marking the occasion. Highlights included:
All Ukrainian Premier League matches over the weekend of 20th-21st April were preceded by a pre-match ceremony. All players, accompanying mascots and matchday officials wore CAFE-branded t-shirts as they entered the field and held a CAFE Week of Action – ‘Total Football, Total Access’ banner. All of these ceremonies and matches were televised nationally with a statement of support appearing on club websites and in matchday programmes.
The Polish Football Association gave its full support to the Week of Action and Ekstraklasa S.A. provided all their clubs with information about the campaign. The Football Polish League also gave its full support with all clubs under their jurisdiction provided with information and urged to get involved. The national stadium in Warsaw – Stadion Narodowy – implemented an audio descriptive commentary service, with equipment donated by CAFE in legacy of UEFA EURO 2012, for partially sighted and blind supporters attending all future matches at the stadium.
Audio descriptive commentary services have also been launched this year in Gdansk, Kharkiv and Lviv in legacy of the UEFA EURO 2012 project. The weeks of action were very warmly received and we look forward to running a second campaign and continuing our legacy works in 2014.
Launch of the new CAFE website
Probably the most noticeable change during 2013 was the launch of the new CAFE website. Just prior to the weeks of action, we went live with a completely overhauled website that is much easier to navigate and we think it looks great. The website allows you to leave your comments and photos on stadiums that you have visited (for more information please go to http://www.cafefootball.eu/en/how-leave-fans-comments-stadium-or-club-pages) and share your experiences with other disabled supporters. The CAFE website can be found at www.cafefootball.eu.
'Proof of disability' research project
In the second half of the year, CAFE was funded by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), Council of Europe, to deliver a ‘proof of disability’ project. The project would investigate the current procedures of ‘proof of disability’ around Europe and surveying disabled supporters on recommendations for a singular, recognised system for the future. The project proved to be a huge success, with well over 800 disabled supporters taking part. The survey found conclusively that the vast majority would back a European disabled persons’ ID card, to be regulated by Governmental entities. Another aspect that came out of the survey was that 70% of disabled supporters would prefer improved accessible facilities to cheaper tickets. This became more apparent with 73% of wheelchair users and 80% of learning disabled people answering in this way.
For more on the findings of the project, please visit http://www.cafefootball.eu/en/news/cafe-proof-disability-research-project-final-report-announced. We would also like to thank EPAS, Council of Europe for funding the research and their ongoing support of CAFE.
Audio-descriptive commentary at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
In December 2013, CAFE and FIFA announced that audio-descriptive commentary would be introduced to a selection of Brazilian football stadiums for the first time at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The service has proved hugely popular in Europe, and now CAFE, in association with local partners Urece, will be training volunteers to deliver the service at matches played in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte. Audio-description is similar to radio commentary but there is an emphasis on the stadium experience. Also, the specially trained commentator provides additional narration that describes all significant visual information such as body language, facial expression, scenery, action, clothing, colours and anything else that is important to conveying what the stadium looks like, what is going on during the match, as well as the ambience in the stadium. This promises to be a hugely exciting and ground-breaking development at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and CAFE is delighted to be taking part.
Promoting CAFE across Europe
CAFE has presented at a number of events in 2013 to raise awareness of our works, most notably at the UEFA Stadium Safety and Security Summit in Warsaw, UEFA President’s meeting with supporters and the UEFA Club Licensing Workshop in Lisbon. In addition, CAFE attended the European Paralympic Committee conference in Dublin, Sport & Citizenship’s ‘The Football We Love’ conference and the Supporters Direct position paper launch in Brussels, the Football Supporters Europe congress in Amsterdam, and the Soccerex conference, Stadium & Business Summit, Fan Experience Forum and Healthy Stadia conference in Manchester, amongst many more. These events are a fantastic opportunity to promote CAFE to a new audience, and introduce them to ‘Access for All’ – the UEFA and CAFE Good Practice Guide to Creating an Accessible Stadium and Matchday Experience.
UEFA Champions League and Europa League Finals
CAFE has also continued to support and advise UEFA on its Finals in 2013, including the UEFA Champions League Final in London, the UEFA Europa League Final in Amsterdam and the UEFA Women’s EURO 2013 tournament in Sweden. This role has already continued in 2014, as CAFE is already liaising with UEFA regarding Finals to be played in Lisbon and Turin.
The CAFE Exhibition has also been launched in 2013. This is made up of a number of presentation slides that briefly introduce CAFE and our works, and has been well-received around Europe. The exhibition has also been created in local languages and has been displayed at a number of venues in Poland and Ukraine to raise awareness of CAFE. To view the exhibition slides, please visit http://www.cafefootball.eu/en/cafe-exhibition.
Celebrating disability awareness
To mark International Day of Disabled People on 3rd December, CAFE took part in a number of activities across Europe. Members of the team travelled to Amsterdam to oversee a meeting to create a national disabled supporters group in the Netherlands, attended by disabled fans and a representative of the KNVB. In Poland, CAFE signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Polish football league to work together in implementing good practice solutions. CAFE’s Ambassador in Poland, Michał Listkiewicz, signed the memorandum on behalf of the Polish football league. In Ukraine, CAFE worked with the Olympskiy Stadium to provide accessible stadium tours for disabled visitors.
2013 has certainly been an action-packed year for CAFE, and we would like to say a big thank you to UEFA and our other partners and collaborators for accompanying us on our journey towards ‘Total Football, Total Access’. We wish you all the very best for the festive season and a happy new year!