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Disabled people represent the world’s largest minority group at 15% of the global population. The WHO identifies disabled people as more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes. Barriers to full social and economic inclusion include:
Football is the world’s most popular sport, but inaccessible infrastructure, services, information, policies and procedures still exclude and discriminate against disabled people.
50% of disabled people in Europe have never attended a public or sporting event and one-third have never travelled or taken a day trip. Furthermore, research conducted by Opinium points out that 80% of the disabled fans who attended have experienced discrimination at a football stadia causing two-thirds of those supporters to stop attending matches.
Good governance needs access and inclusion to ensure positive matchday experiences for much wider and diverse groups. It is estimated that improved accessibility benefits up to 40% of attendees, including people who do not speak the local language, people with temporary injuries, elderly people and parents with young children. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people who benefit from good access is now much higher.
To ensure a truly accessible environment for all, and one where disabled people can take their rightful place in the game, it is vital that access and inclusion of disabled people is integrated into sports governing body core strategies. Collaboration between a National Football Association (NA) or Club and their disabled supporters is essential to sustainable improvements that genuinely benefit the local disabled population.
National disabled supporter associations (NDSAs) play a crucial role in unifying and empowering disabled people to act as self-advocates. A pan-disability disabled supporter association (DSA) can advise on access and inclusion at both a club and national level and enables disabled people to speak with one shared voice on the topic.
Through this Erasmus+ project, we aim to create a platform for increased exchange, understanding and collaboration between NDSAs and their national association and league.
CAFE will be working alongside national associations and leagues in Belgium (KBVB and Pro League), France (FFF and LFP) and Germany (DFB and DFL), as well national disabled supporters associations from each country (Inter, FFSFH and BBAG respectively), and Universidade Europeia - Portugal (ENSILIS).
Together, we will work towards good governance in sport through ensuring disabled fan feedback is integrated into national strategies to improve access and inclusion in football. This project will serve as a pilot, creating a tested roadmap and supporting toolkit for other NAs, Leagues and disabled fan groups across Europe and beyond to implement the project in their own countries.
A range of project activities have been agreed upon, including workshops with national associations, leagues and NDSAs, surveys of disabled fans, and the development of national access strategies. As project coordinator, CAFE will communicate news and updates of the project via our website and social media channels.
For more information about the ‘Good Governance Needs Access and Inclusion’ project, please contact the project coordinator, CAFE, either by email [email protected] or telephone +44 (0)208 065 5108.
The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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