To support CAFE, our projects and wider works, we have established the CAFE Advisory Group.

The CAFE Advisory Group consists of experts, representatives and colleagues from across Europe and beyond. Each member of the group brings unique experiences and knowledge, to offer their support and guidance. CAFE will also be working with the CAFE Advisory Group on a number of specific projects, and sharing best practice examples across their vast networks.

For more information about the CAFE Advisory Group, please see the below biographies. If you have any questions regarding the CAFE Advisory Group please contact us by email to [email protected].


Oleksandr Ostapa
Sports Journalist and Communications Manager

Oleksandr is a Ukrainian sports journalist and communications manager who formerly worked as CAFE's European Project Coordinator in Ukraine.

 

 

 

He launched two Ukrainian DSAs, at FC Dynamo and FC Dnipro, and has worked as a press officer at two Premier League Football clubs and a Ukrainian club. As cofounder of football NGO 'Football Democracy', Oleksandr is working to improve the matchday experiences of many disabled fans in Ukraine.



Elena Popova

Disability Access Officer at the Football Union of Russia

Elena Popova

Founder of the first Russian DSA for PFC CSKA Moscow, Elena won the National Association Initiative Award and a Special Recognition Award at the 2018 CAFE Conference.

For the past two years, Elena has worked as a CAFE Consultant in Russia. She supported CAFE in its role as a main collaborator on accessibility issues ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, acting as a member of CAFE's Advisory Working Group and participating in an assessment of Moscow Spartak Stadium.

She has conducted several workshops, including joint UEFA/RFU workshops and CAFE SLO/DLO workshops.

Elena has participated in conferences, events and interviews aimed at improving access and disability awareness in Russia. She supports creating a positive dialogue between clubs and their disabled fans.


Owain Davies
Chief Executive of Level Playing Field

Owain DaviesOwain became the Chief Executive of Level Playing Field in January 2018. In this role, he leads the charity in its core activities whilst also looking to develop new areas of work. As part of his position, he liaises directly with key stakeholders to drive greater change within access and inclusion at sports stadia and other venues.

Owain graduated from Bucks New University with a BA (Hons) in Sports Management and Rugby Studies. Since his time at Bucks, he has gained experience working within the disability sport sector by heading up the Saracens Sports Foundation’s Disability and Inclusion work.

Owain is passionate about inclusion, having volunteered at Gateways Clubs from the age of 8 along with his parents. Sport is an important part of his life and he has been working within the sector from the age of 18. He is an avid rugby fan, supporting Saracens and his hometown club of Bridgend. Away from rugby, Owain supports Everton and enjoys watching cricket.


Keith Ferguson
Scotland National Disabled Fans Representative

Keith FergusonKeith is an avid disabled football fan. He has a first-hand understanding of the many challenges that disabled supporters face when attending football matches.

Keith previously served as CAFE’s Western European Development Officer, working closely with disabled supporters in the region towards improving access. This role helped Keith to gain a broad understanding access to football stadia and the challenges facing disabled fans in Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Holland and France, and so by enabling him to better advise disabled supporters and their clubs in Scotland.

Keith is the Heart of Midlothian F.C. Disability Access Officer and a member of CAFE's European DAO Network Group, actively supporting the Scottish FA in organising the first meetings between Scottish DAOs. Keith is also the coordinator for the Murray Foundation, treasurer of the Edinburgh Limb Loss Association as well as the former general secretary of the Scottish Disabled Supporters Association.


Mauana Simas
Brazilian NGO Representative

Mauana SimasMauana Simas is a Brazilian journalist based in Rio de Janeiro. Since 2009, Mauana has been working with accessible media, especially on television.

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Mauana coordinated the audio-descriptive commentary project delivered by CAFE and Urece in four host cities. She works as the Communication Coordinator for Urece, and is also a co-founder of Nós Todos Filmes, a film-producer company that adapts audiovisual content for disabled people. In 2013, Nós Todos Filmes won the Shell Live Wire prize of youth entrepreneurship. Mauana continues to work to improve accessibility for partially sighted and blind people, and was named as one of ThinkOlga.com's Inspirational Women of 2014.


Larysa Sayevich
Deputy Director of the Donetsk Sports and Educational Centre for blind and partially sighted children and adults

Larysa SayevichLarysa is Deputy Director at the Donetsk Sports and Educational Centre, supporting blind and partially sighted people of all ages, and represents the interests of blind and partially sighted people in a regional Accessibility Committee.

Larysa has been supporting CAFE with her expert knowledge and guidance in access and inclusion for partially sighted and blind people for almost 10 years.

Larysa first worked with CAFE in 2011 as the regional coordinator for the official UEFA EURO 2012 project “Respect Inclusion, Football with no limits”. In 2017, Larysa was appointed as a CAFE Consultant to support CAFE’s works on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and she was an active member of the Accessibility Working Group created by FIFA and CAFE in preparation for the tournament.

Larysa has attended all three CAFE International Conferences to date, and presented on the importance of audio descriptive commentary for blind and partially sighted spectators at the 2015 edition.

Larysa regularly presents at and supports accessibility conferences, and is a talented poet, with several published works.


Charly Simo
French Disabled Fans Representative

Charly SimoCharly works as part of the Federation Française Handisport as the Director of blind sport in France. He has worked alongside La Federation des Aveugles de France, working towards increased access and inclusion for partially sighted and blind people through sport He has worked with blind and partially sighted people for over 12 years, and has worked with CAFE to train audio-descriptive commentators ahead of UEFA EURO 2016.

Charly is himself a former professional footballer, and was the coach of France’s blind football team that won a silver medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.


Allan MacKillop
Scottish Disabled Fans Representative

Allan MacKillopAllan has been a Hearts season ticket holder for 30 years. As a wheelchair user with Osteogenisis Imperfecta, he has travelled extensively around Europe, Japan and America watching both Hearts and Scotland. Allan is also an active member of the Hearts Disabled Supporters club.

Working as an IT consultant, Allan is also passionately involved in the promotion of disability interest networks within both private and public sector business. He has recently taken up the position of Disability Lead with the BBC, based at New Broadcasting House in central London.

Allan attended the first European CAFE Conference “Total Football, Total Access, Total Sense” at Wembley Stadium in September 2011. Since then, he has continued to develop his relationship with CAFE by providing stadia reports during his many visits abroad and sharing experiences of his travels.


Dr José Manuel Braga Madeira Serôdio
President INR, Portugal 2011-2017

Jose SerôdioA law graduate with a diploma in Legislature and Science of Law from Lisbon’s College of Law, José has since lectured on the Rights of Disabled People and published several papers and articles on the topic.

José has served on several working groups concerning the Rights of Disabled Persons at national and international levels, and was the Chairman of the General Assembly. He held positions on the Advisory Council, and the Boards of several Disability Associations.

He has been a member of the Sport National Council and Ethics in Sport and Safety Council, and has worked as an advisory and assistant to a number of ministers. Jose joined the National Institute of Rehabilitation in 1992.


Anthony Joy
Disabled Fans Representative

Anthony JoyAnthony has been an Arsenal season ticket holder since 1990. As a wheelchair user, He has travelled around Europe for several years to watch Arsenal play, missing only two European away games in the last five seasons. Anthony recognises the importance of feeding back on his experiences as a disabled fan so that others may feel both informed and encouraged to travel to support their teams.

Anthony was the first member of the Arsenal disability away scheme, which initiated the automatic issuing of tickets for each away game, bringing parity for disabled fans with other away scheme members at Arsenal. He liaises closely with the Arsenal Disability Liaison Team, and recently met with the ADLT and stadium management on behalf of other disabled Arsenal fans, to address issues with disabled access to the lifts at Emirates Stadium. These have been positively resolved.

Anthony is an active user of social media to highlight the standard of disabled facilities at football grounds in the UK. This led to Anthony featuring in nationwide media coverage in April 2014, and being mentioned in the House of Lords. 


Gabriel Mayr
Brazilian NGO Representative

Gabriel MayrGabriel Mayr is a Physical Education teacher from Rio de Janeiro, and started to be involved with Paralympic sports in 2001 at his first year of university. Gabriel mastered in in Adapted Physical Education.

Gabriel worked for the English five-a-side national team for one year as assistant coach, as well as volunteering at the Royal National College for the Blind.

During his masters Gabriel promoted a Urece athlete to be the first blind Brazilian alpine skier, in the mountains of the Czech Republic. After this project he started the 5-a-side football in Brazil.

At Urece, his work was recognized by the UN, the CSR program of FIFA and task forces from UNICEF. Gabriel's role at Urece also played a part in establishing the Sports for Social Change and Streetfootball World networks. Gabriel was awarded young social entrepreneur in 2013 from the Rio de Janeiro Commercial association and has also been inducted into the Shell LiveWire International Hall of Fame.


Pawel Parus
Polish Disabled Fans Representative

Pawel ParusPaweł is the President of the Klub Kibiców Niepełnosprawnych DSA at Slask Wroclaw - the largest DSA in Poland. Pawel has been President of the DSA since 2008, and works to empower disabled fans at the club.

Paweł also works as a training officer for various NGOs in Poland. He provides awareness training and encourages the integration of disabled people into everyday life in Poland. He has coordinated a number of projects in the field and acted as a consultant in preparation for UEFA EURO 2012. He received the 'Wroclaw without Barriers' certificate for his work.

In 2011 Paweł attended the first CAFE European conference and spoke along with Michał Fitas on the experiences disabled people had faced attending football matches in Poland.


Johan ten Hoove
Dutch National Disabled Fans Representatives

Johan ten Hoove

Johan has worked with the Rolly Side DSA at FC Groningen in the Netherlands for a number of years, and serves as Chair of the group. 

In December 2014 Johan became President of Miva United, the newly-founded Dutch national disabled supporters association. Johan, together with his wife Heike, works with disabled fans and the KNVB to improve the matchday experience across the Netherlands. 

Johan and Heike are both lifelong FC Groningen supporters, and also work closely with the club’s wider fans committee. They have worked in cooperation with CAFE for many years, and in 2011 took part in the first DSA 'twinning' with the Hibernian DSA at CAFE’s first International Conference.


Michal Fitas

Polish Disabled Fans Representative

Michal FitasMichał is the Vice-Director of Poland's biggest DSA - Klub Kibiców Niepełnosprawnych at Slask Wroclaw. Michał also works for the Polish FA on coordinating the creation of new DSAs in Poland. He is a Slask Wroclaw fan and has celebral palsy.

During UEFA EURO 2012, Michał worked voluntarily in the Fan’s Embassy in Wroclaw. He attended 9 matches during the tournament, including the final in Kiev. He also attended matches at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2008.

Michał attended the first CAFE European conference at Wembley Stadium in September 2011, where he and Pawel Parus spoke about the experiences of disabled fans across Poland.


Ruth Hopkins
General Manager and Head of Access & Development at Level Playing Field

Ruth HopkinsRuth joined Level Playing Field in April 2013 as Access and Development Manager, and was appointed as General Manager in 2016. She is an NRAC (National Register of Access Consultants) accredited Access Auditor who specialises in sports stadia but has experience across a range of sectors.

Ruth leads on the Access Team, which involves undertaking access audits at sports venues in England and Wales, designing appraisals of stadium developments, and managing enquires from clubs, governing bodies and disabled sports fans.