CAFE Projects and Fan Liaison Manager Mike Rice recently travelled to the Netherlands, where he met with Dennis Bliek in Amsterdam. 

Dennis is a representative of Ajax FC’s disabled supporters, and regularly meets with the club to discuss issues relating to its disabled fans. Dennis had previously sat on Ajax’s Supporters Delegation – a group of the clubs fans who the club would liaise with on particular matters. The Delegation has now disbanded, but the club continues to meet with Dennis on a regular basis for his advice and feedback.

After showing Mike the accessible seating areas, refreshment kiosks, toilets and lifts in Ajax’s Amsterdam ArenA, Dennis and Mike had a chat about what it is like to be a disabled supporter at the stadium. Mike introduced Dennis to the Dutch-language version of ‘Access for All’ – the UEFA and CAFE Good Practice Guide to Creating an Accessible Stadium and Matchday Experience – which is available to download in 13 European languages here. ‘Access for All’ provides a benchmark of good practice, and outlines what is required of an accessible stadium.

Dennis and Mike also discussed the forming of a Disabled Supporters Association at the club, which Dennis feels could happen in the near future. CAFE has published guidance on setting up DSA’s, which you can find here. A national DSA was also spoken about, and how effective this could be for all disabled football fans across the Netherlands.

A big thank you to Dennis for meeting with CAFE, and to Bjorn Martens and Ineke Gielen from Ajax FC, who both helped to set up the meeting and tour of the stadium’s accessible facilities.

CAFE is committed to improving accessible facilities at football stadiums across Europe, and providing an inclusive matchday experience for all supporters.

Published 25/04/2013