Small changes making a big difference to improve access


Small changes making a big difference to improve access

CAFE is committed to working with various stakeholders across Europe to make matchday an accessible experience for all fans.


There are many ways that a club or stadium can become more welcoming and inclusive for disabled fans, and one way of doing this is to provide good wayfinding and signage.


Good, frequent signage benefits everyone but can be especially important to disabled fans, particularly those visiting the stadium for the first time. A coordinated and consistent approach to signage should be taken and used throughout the stadium.


When creating signage, it is important that universal symbols, such as for toilets, are used. This means that language barriers are not an issue, and is easier to understand for all fans. Contrasting colours should be used to make the signage clear and noticeable. It is also essential that signs are installed at a height so that people will be able to see them. It is important to remember that wheelchair users may struggle to see low signs in a crowded environment like a stadium, so the positioning of these signs must be appropriate.


Appropriate signage can be of great help to all fans, but is especially important to partially sighted and blind people, learning disabled people and deaf and hard of hearing people.


Equally important is appropriate wayfinding. Tactile, coloured and tonal wayfinding information is especially helpful for partially sighted and blind people.


Approved tactile paving should be provided at pairs of dropped kerbs, where an approach route crosses a road and at accessible drop-off and pick-up points. It can also be particularly useful at the top and bottom of staircases, to alert a partially sighted or blind person of an upcoming hazard.


Many stadiums across Europe are incorporating accessible wayfinding into their designs, including at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France. CAFE Managing Director Joyce Cook OBE recently visited the stadium.


Joyce said, “It is important to make football stadiums friendly and welcoming for all fans, and this of course includes disabled fans. Relatively small and inexpensive solutions, such as the tactile paving in use here in Lille, can make all the difference and help partially sighted and blind fans to better navigate the Stade Pierre Mauroy. We encourage all clubs and stadiums to look at their existing facilities and explore how they can improve access for disabled fans”.


For more information about accessibility at football stadiums, read ‘Access for All’ – the UEFA and CAFE Good Practice Guide to Creating an Accessible Stadium and Matchday Experience. The guide is available to download in 13 languages at


Photo provided © ELISA/Valode & Pistre Architectes/Atelier Ferret Architectures and Jérôme Pouille