Sport for All: NIF, Israel FA and Access Israel organize special conference and events on "Access and Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Sport." 

New Israel Fund's (NIF) Let's Kick Racism Out of Israeli Football campaign in partnership with the Israel FA and Access Israel is organizing Israel's first ever conference on "Access and Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Sport."

The Conference is being held at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on March 2 with the participation of Joyce Cook, Managing Director of CAFE – Centre for Access to Football in Europe, which initiated the conference together with NIF. Also present will be former Manchester United striker Danny Wallace who is CAFE's Ambassador. On March 1 special sporting events will be held for disabled children.

At the Bloomfield Stadium conference, the CAFE delegation from the UK will present the European experience in improving access to sport in general and football stadia in particular. The Conference will hear greetings from the leading administrators in Israeli sport including Israel FA CEO Ori Shilo and Israel Basketball Association Chairman Shay Shani as well as NIF Israel CEO Rachel Liel.

Panel speakers will include Paralympics gold medal swimmer Keren Leibowitz, MK Ilan Gilon, Chairman of the Knesset Subcommittee for Implementation of the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Law, and Maccabi Haifa general manager Itamar Chizik.

Danny Wallace said "KIO Israel and the Israel FA are organizing this conference as part of their campaign to eradicate all forms of discrimination in football. Sports in general and football in particular have enormous influence on society and great potential to change social values. It is therefore vital that we ensure that sport shows no prejudice and allowing disabled people to integrate into sport and have access to a nation's stadia is a basic right that we must promote. Through the important work of CAFE, we are already making good progress in this area across Europe, and we hope to draw from this experience in making similar progress in Israel.'

NIF Communications Director Itzik Shanan said, "This conference brings together issues that NIF has struggled for in its more than 30 years of promoting equal opportunity, social justice and opposing discrimination. We have been successful in significantly reducing racism in football, while by funding organizations advancing the rights of disabled people; we have brought about highly progressive legislation promoting equal rights for disabled Israelis."

David Bernstein, CAFE Chairman said “I warmly welcome the conference being held in Tel Aviv to discuss the integration of disabled people into sport and access for them to Israel's football stadia. I wish every success to NIF's Let's Kick Racism Out (KIO) of Israeli Football, which is organizing the conference in partnership with the Israel FA, and with the participation of the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) delegation led by Managing Director Joyce Cook and Special Ambassador Danny Wallace, the former Man. Utd. and England international."

A version of this article is also available in Polish.

Published 28/02/2011