On the 6th of March 2013, CAFE’s Head of Development in Eastern Europe, Elena Karpukhina, and Project Coordinator in Ukraine, Olena Zhyvaikina, attended an event dedicated to the launch of a Disabled Supporters Association at FC Metalist Kharkiv.

Anton Ivanov, Supporters Liaison Officer of the club, made a presentation about the accessibility of the stadium and the active social policy of the club. Several slides were dedicated to the CAFE and our cooperation with FC Metalist. The floor was given to CAFE’s Head of Development in Eastern Europe Elena Karpukhina, who spoke about our activities and future plans in the territory.

The club officially announced that 30 wheelchair users and 20 deaf or hard of hearing football supporters who were present at this event became the first members of this fan-club. Now they will have an opportunity to visit away games and meet football players regularly. Applications for the group were managed by the Club’s Disabled Supporters Officer Tatyana Gluschenko.

The official presentation was followed by a meeting with a number of FC Metalist football players. Marko Devich and Aleksandr Goryainov came to the event to welcome the fans personally. Marko explained that he was particularly happy about the launch of the DSA and has very personal attitude to it, as both of his parents are deaf. Marko was honoured to be the part of such huge event.

The fans had an opportunity to ask a lot of questions and the best of them were awarded with football souvenirs, including footballs, scarves and jerseys.

The club is also planning to invite blind and partially sighted supporters to join the DSA when a dedicated audio described commentary system is implemented at the stadium in the very near future.

Meanwhile, all fans were encouraged to take part in a competition to find the best name for the DSA. The winner, and the most active participants, will get special gifts from the club.

A big well done to everybody involved, congratulations!

A version of this article is also available in Ukrainian and Russian.

Published 15/03/2013