The successful appointment of a DAO is crucial to ensuring inclusive facilities and services for all staff, volunteers, supporters, players and visitors.

By helping to establish and maintain an inclusive and welcoming environment on matchdays and non-matchdays alike, the DAO will help their club / stadium to fulfil its legal, moral and economic obligations to disabled spectators, employees and volunteers. This will enable the club / stadium to attract a whole new group of fans and customers, as well as their families, friends and colleagues.

When recruiting any new role, including the appointment of a DAO, a club / stadium should ensure that its recruitment process is as accessible and inclusive as possible. A key role of the DAO will be to support the club / stadium further in ensuring an accessible recruitment process is introduced across all levels.

A good way to ensure that a club/stadium reaches a broad range of applicants is by advertising inclusively. This may involve reaching out to specialist NGOs and local disability networks, in addition to the club / stadium’s usual recruitment portals.

More information on ensuring an accessible and inclusive recruitment process for disabled people can be found in the Total Football – Total Access to Work Toolkit.

This helpful guide was created by CAFE as part of UEFA’s Captains of Change project in order to promote and facilitate the employment of disabled people in the world of football.

Depending on the size and resources of the club / stadium in question, a DAO may be a full-time employee, a part-time employee or a volunteer.

For example, given its size and the large numbers of disabled spectators attending matches, Wembley Stadium has a whole team of people providing accessible matchday services.

In contrast, FK Rabotnicki in FYR Macedonia, which has fewer resources, has appointed a volunteer to carry out and coordinate these services.

It is also important to recognise that the DAO role – unlike the existing disability liaison officer (DLO) role – is about more than just liaising with disabled spectators and ticketing.

The chosen candidate should be familiar with the good practice guide produced by UEFA and CAFE, which sets out minimum requirements at European level. They should also have a good knowledge of local disability and equality legislation and building regulations.

Whether a club / stadium appoints a full-time DAO or a volunteer, it should be noted that the DAO role is an extensive one and includes advising the club / stadium on improvements to infrastructure and facilitating disability awareness for all staff.

The DAO will provide support to various departments within the organisation, including the provision of disability and access advice with a view to facilitating the employment of disabled staff and volunteers.

The role requires commitment and the ability to deliver best practice solutions. In most cases, widespread change will not occur overnight, so it is important that the DAO is able to negotiate and work towards implementing best practices in the longer term.

A sample job description for a DAO position can be found in Appendix 1 of the Disability Access Officer handbook.

Published 28/09/2017