Monaco 2009 winners: CAFE-A Place for Every Football Fan
CAFE - Centre for Access to Football in Europe is a European wide charity created to ensure disabled supporters across UEFA's member associations can enjoy a football match as a problem-free experience.
CAFE’s main focus is to improve access to football stadia and to ensure that more disabled people can enjoy football in legacy alongside their families and friends. And, because football embraces diversity in all its forms, CAFE is working with the football family to raise disability awareness more widely throughout Europe.
We provide user-led expertise and share good practice guidance with the emphasis placed on ensuring an accessible and equal experience for all supporters. New football stadia should be built using the best inclusive design principles to ensure a barrier free welcome to disabled fans but it is also possible to improve access to existing stadia.
It is also important to empower disabled people, so CAFE supports disabled fans in setting up their own local pan-disability groups so that they can become user-led consultants to their clubs and stadiums. CAFE feels strongly that this provides a sustainable future for continued access improvements and inclusion. Experience shows that where a football club has a good relationship with its own disabled fans, then there is a better situation within the stadium on match days.
Disabled people should be seen as valued customers with good access not only considered a moral issue but good business sense with around 11% of the population being disabled and 1 in 4 families including a disabled person. If a disabled person cannot attend a football match, because the stadium is not accessible, then it is very likely that their family and friends will also not attend.
Football has a proven voice for social change in many areas of equality, inclusion and tolerance and CAFE believes that we all have a crucial role to play in promoting the value of equal access for disabled people within football and more widely in their daily lives.
CAFE is already making good progress with a small team active across Europe. In addition, we are keen to find local partners to support our project to ensure a sustainable long-term legacy.