CAFE’s second International Conference – Total Football Total Access – was held in Paris last week (30-31 October 2015) and speakers from around the world came together to celebrate access and inclusion within football.

The two-day event at the Stade de France brought together a wide range of stakeholders, including disabled fans, club, league and national association representatives, equality organisations, architects and representatives of both UEFA and FIFA. Around 200 people attended the Conference, with many more watching live via the CAFE website.

Topics discussed included the new UEFA Club Licensing criterion, requiring clubs to appoint a Disability Access Officer, as well as preparations for UEFA EURO 2016, the employability of disabled people in football, the Premier League’s pledge to meet Access for All standards by 2017 and a panel session on improving access around mega events.

Specific presentations were also given around improving the matchday experience for fans with hidden disabilities, including deaf fans as well as talks on colour blind awareness, dementia and autism.

In closing the Conference, CAFE Chairman David Bernstein said, “The contributions here have been absolutely amazing, with such a great range of expertise. Perceptions have changed, and there is no question that CAFE is taken extremely seriously. And it hasn’t happened by accident, it has taken a lot of hard work”.

David added, “We’re not looking for favours from anybody, were looking for our entitlements as basic human rights. We are here as one extended wide family working together”.

Speaking after the Conference, CAFE Managing Director Joyce Cook said, “It is always a delight to bring so many people with one shared goal together. It was hugely satisfying to spread the message of #totalaccess and a pleasure to see many familiar faces as well as meet many more advocates for the first time”.

“It is particularly pleasing that so many people came together and in one collective voice said that football must do more to be truly accessible. We must all now continue to work together to ensure all fans enjoy full inclusion”. 

To everyone who joined us in Paris, or watched live via the CAFE website, we would like to say a huge thank you for making our Conference – Total Football Total Access – a total success!

A version of this article is also available in Ukrainian and Russian.
Published 04/11/2015