Our Vision: 'Total Football - Total Access'

 

A lot of people might ask a question ‘why good access is so important?’:

 

There are more than 80 million disabled people living in the European Union alone - equivalent to the populations of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and the Netherlands combined. In other words, more than 10% of the population. One in four Europeans has a family member with a disability. Six Europeans out of ten know someone, in their close or more distant circles, who is a disabled person. People with reduced mobility represent more than 40% of the population.

 

You might find it shocking that 50% of all disabled people have never participated in leisure or sport activities. Moreover one third of the disabled population has never travelled abroad or even participated in day-excursions because of inaccessible venues and services.

 

According to statistic 97% of Europeans think that something should be done to ensure better integration of disabled people into society and 93% of Europeans express their desire to dedicate more money to the removal of physical barriers that complicate the life of disabled people.

 

Accessibility is essential for disabled people to be able to exercise their rights and participate fully in society. In fact, in some countries, any lack of access to the built environment is considered a form of discrimination.

 

Europe is promoting a “Design for All” approach to the built environment so that buildings and public spaces are readily usable by as many people as possible and accessible to all . Despite the diversity in the specific technical solutions, at a functional level disabled people have similar accessibility requirements across Europe.

 

Moreover, accessible built environments are economically attractive; functionally they are more flexible and the infrastructure more sustainable as there is less need for expensive adaptations at a later stage. Disabled people should be seen as valued customers with good access not only considered a moral issue but also good business sense.

 

Access is a basic human right and a fundamental pillar of social justice. Social justice is about the acceptance of people as individuals and about access to fair and equal opportunity to participate fully in social life. A truly accessible environment is one where people are freely able to express their independence, and where all barriers to integration have been removed.

 

CAFE estimates that at least 500,000 disabled people within the extended UEFA European region are likely to be active football supporters with many more aspiring to become match going supporters. Disabled people have the right to enjoy football, sports and all forms of entertainment in the same way as everyone else. This applies to football at all levels.

 

More and more disabled football supporters wish to travel to football matches and tournaments both at home and abroad. As access improves, more and more disabled people will feel able to attend major tournaments like EURO 2012 alongside their fellow supporters.

 

By inspiring many more disabled people to attend live matches and to get involved in local volunteering activities, CAFE aims to stimulate social inclusion, encourage interaction between citizens and contribute to intercultural learning and bring to the fore both Europe’s diversity and unity.

 

Aims of CAFE

 

• To promote equal access to all European football stadiums and their clubs;

• To act as accessible stadia advisors and to recognise and share good practice wherever it exists (facilities and services);

• To increase disability and access awareness using the special influence of football;

• To establish a European network of local and national disabled football supporters groups as user-led self-advocates at a local level;

• To enable more disabled people to follow and get involved in football at all levels of the game

 

'Europe' refers to the 54 member Football Associations of UEFA which extend beyond geographical Europe and include countries further afield such as Israel and Kazakhstan. CAFE will be working across this larger geographical area.