Being a Disability Access Officer (DAO) means cooperation. Cooperation with Senior Management, Ticketing, Marketing and Communications, Infrastructure and Security departments, volunteers and many other colleagues.

It also means communication and learning from others - from your own disabled fans, including the Disabled Supporters Association (DSA), from the experiences of disabled away fans visiting your ground, from Disability NGOs and experts in the area of access and inclusion.

The last 7 years have also shown how important communicating with, and learning from, your peers, National DAO coordinator and club DAOs is.

Exchanges have taken place at National DAO trainings or at international meetings (such as the European DAO Network Group , DAO exchange meetings along UEFA Champions League or Europa League matches) and also in national network groups and CAFE’s DAO network groups on social media.

Hearing about the best practices from others is crucial in this constantly developing world of access and, despite the availability of regular CAFE trainings and guidance documents, new DAOs often struggle to make their first steps in improving access and inclusion and to define priorities.

In order to provide further opportunities for exchange and peer-to-peer learning, we are now proud to launch the European DAO Mentorship Programme.

The aim of the Programme is to attribute one mentor (an experienced DAO) to one less experienced / newly appointed DAO, who will have regular exchange (meeting once a month for a period of at least one year). The mentor can advise the mentee on day-to-day questions and also support them in the creation of an access strategy, for example.

Our aim is to link up mentors with mentees from clubs, leagues and NAs, of a relatively similar size, relatively similar legislation, and general understanding of the topic of access and inclusion. For example, a mentor from an English Premier League club may be paired with a mentee from a Spanish La Liga club, and a club DAO from the Czech Republic could mentor a club from Slovenia etc.

Alternatively, a mentor and mentee may be paired based on knowledge and needs of a particular topic, such as accessible ticketing, rather than on the full day-to-day aspects fo the DAO role.

CAFE would like to invite all DAOs who would like to to take part in the European DAO Mentorship Programme as a mentee to apply via our website by end of April 2022.

We will then inform mentors and mentees of their pairing in May 2022. It is expected the mentor and mentee will meet regularly throughout the 2022/23 season.

In the first season, we will start with 10 mentors. The Mentorship Programme will then be reviewed after one year and hopefully the number of participants can be increased.

More details about the Programme, and a first list of DAOs who are joining the Programme as a mentor, can be found on the relevant CAFE website section.

If you have any questions regarding the European DAO Mentorship Programme, please email us at [email protected] or call +44 (0)203 355 9867.

Published 31/3/2022