As part of our series of #MyMatchday interviews with disabled fans, CAFE interviewed Yuri Balakhanov, a fan from Russia. Yuri has supported PFC CSKA Moscow for many years, and started going to watch live matches for the first time this season.

How did you become a CSKA fan?

I have supported CSKA since childhood. Nobody in my family watched football, but after the 1994 World Cup I started to watch football and CSKA became my club.

Do you think the CSKA stadium is accessible?

Yes, I think so. I have been to many stadiums in Moscow, and I think CSKA is one of the most accessible. There is very good accessible parking, so my companion and I can drive to the game. It is very convenient.

I really like that the CSKA stadium is compact, with stands close to the pitch. It means everything is clearly visible. The seating area for disabled fans is separate, but it is in a good location that is not exposed to the weather and has good sightlines.

What is your relationship with the club?

I am not in touch with the Disability Access Officer, but I find out information by calling the Ticket Office. They told me how to get to the stadium, where disabled fans meet before the match, and where to collect my tickets.

What impact has football had on your life?

I am a passionate fan of both CSKA and the Russian national team. Football is my big love. I spend a lot of time involved in football. It is one of the main parts of my life.

How important is it for you to be able to attend matches?

It is definitely very important to attend live matches. As a fan, your main aim is to support the team. At a match, there is so much energy. Everything is real.

The CAFE team would like to thank Yuri for his insights on his matchday experiences as a disabled fan.

Yuri's story highlights the impact that football has had on him and his life, and how he came to love the beautiful game.  

If you are a disabled fan, or know a disabled fan who would like to participate in our #MyMatchday interviews, please feel free to contact CAFE’s Fan Liaison, Access and Administration Officer, Amy Wilson, by email on [email protected] or call +44 (0)208 065 5108. You can also contact CAFE via Twitter at @cafefootball and Facebook on