As part of the CAFE #MyMatchday series of interviews, we spoke with Juventus fan Anna Rossi about her experiences and memories.

Anna has also filled the role of being a CAFE Accessibility Monitor at the UEFA Nations League in Italy, where she was able to provide CAFE with detailed feedback on access at the stadium and any issues encountered on matchdays.

How long have you been a supporter of your club?

I have always been a Juventus supporter. When I was younger, friends and family tried to change my mind because they supported AC Milan, but they never succeeded. I loved the hairstyles of Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard, who both played in Milan, but I was always loyal to Juventus,

How did you become a supporter of your club?

Well, let’s start by saying that my father and my sisters were all Juventus supporters. My dad also used to play football, and spending time with him quite often involved watching matches together or being at our local town football pitch where he coached young players. So, I kind of grew up surrounded by football and sports.

There are two specific memories that really stick with me. When I was 3 years old we went on a family vacation to Vipiteno, where Juventus was holding their summer preparation training camp. Every morning the team used to go for a run around the village, going to the football pitch and many supporters were crowding the streets and cheering. My sisters were both screaming to Roberto Baggio trying to get his attention. One day he stopped and nicely patted my cheek, making my sisters super jealous.

A few years later, my parents and I were at Hellas Verona vs Juventus match. I was so excited by the atmosphere and the crowd, and the only moment I was lost for words was when the screen of the stadium showed the Juventus logo and the team entered the pitch to warm up. I was already hooked by then.

How many matches do you usually attend each season?

Normally I can attend 6/7 matches per season, but lately this has become a bit more complicated due to the pandemic. I do look forward to coming back to the stadium more often very soon. Many weekends I play powerchair hockey, so sometimes my training and league schedule prevent me from being able to attend football matches. But every time I can go to see Juventus, or any football match, I do!

Can you tell us some of your favourite memories from supporting your club?

I was lucky to attend a match where we won a national title at the old “Delle Alpi” stadium, before the club moved to the new stadium. I think I have been lucky to witness many super emotional matches, unfortunately not all of them live from the stadium. The emotions, both the good ones and the sad ones, were worth it.

Who is your favourite ever player and why?

Alessandro Del Piero. Easy. I don’t think it is necessary to say how great he was on the field, both technically and tactically. He scored so many great goals, and wrote powerful and very memories into the history books for both the club and the national team. We won many titles, and he won many individual honours too.

I think one of the things I love the most about Del Piero is his loyalty and leadership on and off the field. He has been a great example for many, and for me has been a strong reference point on how I wanted to be as a powerchair hockey player and as a captain to my team.

I was also very lucky to meet him and get his autographed shirt, which is hanging in my room now.

What does your typical matchday routine look like?

Excitement is the word to describe it. It is always a good feeling to know I am heading to the stadium. If it is Juventus playing, I normally prepare my team scarf and gadgets to wear, plan my trip and take sandwiches or sweets to bring along. I try to be there in plenty of time before kick off, to fully witness the experience as much as possible. to get settled and enjoy the stadium as much as possible!

How important is it that you have an inclusive experience when attending your club’s matches?

Vitally important. As a child, I had many complicated experiences at the stadium. It was difficult to get match tickets, and sometimes my parents had to carry me up and down the steps. Even though I loved being at the match, I was always doubtful that it could be too difficult for my family to go. Thanks to help of a few friends, I got the information about how to be able to go to the matches with my wheelchair and this made my life as a supporter much more enjoyable! I think we deserve to have the chance to experience football the same way as all supporters do.

What do you think that clubs can do to help improve the matchday experience for all disabled supporters?

In Italian stadiums, wheelchair users usually must stay in a specific area which is not always close or connected with the rest of the fans. This means we sometimes miss out on team choreographies or flags that are being handed out before a match. It is a pity, because I would much like to be part of those memories as well. I would encourage all clubs to make sure they include their disabled supporters more.

I think many Italian teams also need to work on the access and ticketing policies as well, as they are often hard to find and the application process is not always easy. There are some common things that happen often, like having complicated access routes to services like bars, or food kiosks having very high counters and being quite far away from the sector were disabled fans are located.

Stadium tours, museums and shops need to become a focus point for clubs. In some stadiums it is not possible to visit the stadium (or parts of it) because accessible tours aren’t widely available and there is a long waiting list for those that do take place.

What impact has attending your club’s matches had on you?

It gives me a huge energy boost, because I do really pour my heart out whenever I am attending a match. The first time I went to the new Juventus stadium I remember I stopped in front of the stadium crying, because it felt like a dream come true. Seeing the stadium I was watching on pictures and video, and seeing that the players I was admiring were real, in front of my eyes, was an amazing feeling.

You attended matches at the UEFA Nations League Finals as a CAFE Accessibility Monitor. What made you apply for this role?

Mainly, it was my love for the sport and my attitude to be a peer for other disabled people.

I am an optimistic person, and I think we can all contribute to make things better and more inclusive for everyone. So whenever I can, I do play my part in it.

Do you think it is important for roles such as the CAFE Accessibility Monitors to exist?

It is so important. I think it is a very useful tool to make everyone’s voices be heard, and to establish a dialogue with clubs and supporters. It all helps to make football matches the best possible experience for everyone.

Did you enjoy the experience of being a CAFE Accessibility Monitor?

Yes a lot, and I am looking forward to being able to do that again!

What would you say to other disabled supporters about becoming CAFE Accessibility Monitors?

Raise your voice, play your part in the match and get involved. Not only for yourself but to improve everyone’s experience. Being a CAFE Accessibility Monitor gives you the chance to attend such exciting matches and at the same time you are offered the opportunity to change the future for disabled fans, and you only have to enjoy a great football match to do it!

Finally, what message would you give to a disabled fan who has not yet been to a live match?

It will change your life. What are you waiting for? Go!!!

We would like to extend our thanks to Anna for sharing her story with us and taking part in the #MyMatchday series. Her story will resonate with so many other passionate disabled football fans, and her unique experience as a CAFE Accessibility Monitor highlights the impact that disabled fans can have in improving accessible facilities and services.

CAFE will be seeking to appoint Accessibility Monitors in Paris, Seville, Turin, Tirana and Helsinki ahead of this year's UEFA competition Finals, and in England for this summer's UEFA Women's EUROs. More information will be available shortly on how to apply to take part.

If you are a disabled fan, or know a disabled fan who would like to participate in our #MyMatchday interviews, please feel free to contact CAFE’s Fan Liaison, Access and Administration Officer, Amy Wilson, by email at [email protected] or call +44 (0)203 355 9867. You can also contact CAFE via Twitter at @cafefootball and Facebook on

Published 9/3/2022