As part of CAFE’s UEFA EURO 2012 legacy work in Ukraine, our Project Coordinator in Kiev Alex Ostapa recently met with Sergiy Makarov, the newly-elected President of the Professional Football League. 

CAFE delivered the UEFA Respect Inclusion ‘Football with No Limits’ project around UEFA EURO 2012 and maintains a strong presence in both host nations of Poland and Ukraine. The project was a resounding success, with more disabled football fans than ever before now able to attend live matches thanks to the improvements made at stadiums.

Alex and Sergiy discussed how CAFE and the PFL could work closely together to improve the matchday experience of disabled football fans in Ukraine.

Sergiy said that the PFL is happy to work with CAFE on accessibility to Ukrainian stadiums, and would look to actively promoteAccess for All– the UEFA and CAFE Good Practice Guide to Creating an Accessible Stadium and Matchday Experience. The document provides a benchmark of good access and offers clear guidance, in 13 languages, on how stadiums can be made more accessible and inclusive for all fans.

Sergiy told Alex, “Naturally, access to stadiums is very important. We are ready to support the CAFE initiative and let our clubs know that they must make football accessible for disabled fans. It is necessary both to develop the infrastructure and to work with disabled fans”.

Sergiy also assured Alex that the PFL will assist CAFE in providing disability and access awareness training to appropriate representatives of Ukrainian football clubs at a future meeting in Kiev. It is of absolute importance that club and stadium staff receives awareness and etiquette training in order to provide a fully inclusive and welcoming experience for disabled fans attending live matches.

CAFE is grateful for this meeting and looks forwards to a close working relationship with the PFL going forwards. In the near future CAFE and the PFL hope to sign a memorandum of cooperation, outlining how the two organisations can work together to ensure that disabled fans are able to watch their teams in a suitable, accessible environment.

A version of this article is also available in Russian.

Published 11/07/2014