I’m a fan of FC Dynamo Kiev and the Ukrainian national team, but before UEFA EURO 2012 I had only watched football on television. My first time at a football match was at the new stadium in Kiev. That was amazing.
I went to the match with a personal assistant, who helped me to climb the stairs. Unfortunately they don’t have rails which makes it quite difficult not only for a person like me, but for elderly people or small children. But I’m not complaining. The match was worth it.
It’s such a huge difference between watching football on TV and going to the stadium. It’s all about the atmosphere. At home you just sit in front of the TV set and watch the game, while at the stadium you shout and sing with other supporters. It’s incomparable. I don’t remember when I shouted so much as at the recent match between Ukraine and France in Kiev. At home I don’t shout – there is no point.
What I liked most of all about the stadium in Kiev is that stewards and staff there have certain awareness and never leave disabled fans without attention. They are very tactful and always offer their help. I know that CAFE provided disability awareness training for them so well done - you managed to set high standard. You are doing great job.
I didn’t need any assistance as I was with a companion, but I’m sure if I were alone the stewards would help me to get to my seat and accompany me to the exit after the match. However, I feel that I need to bring a personal assistant with me each time I go to the stadium, as anything can happen in such a crowd.
It’s great that such dedicated training for the stadium staff takes place and this is as it should be, because we all want to see the match regardless of our ‘disability’.
I’ve never been to an away match before, but my dream is to visit the new UEFA EURO 2012 stadiums in Lviv and Kharkiv.
'It’s such a huge difference between watching football on TV and going to the stadium. It’s all about the atmosphere'