CAFE has published a summary report of our research project into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on disabled sports fans.

To gain a better understanding of the impact of the pandemic, and in particular the suspension of live matches, CAFE surveyed over 400 disabled fans and people with long-term health conditions, and their advocates, across Europe. Fans were asked about how being unable to attend live matches was affecting their lives and wellbeing, and any concerns that they had about the potential return to stadiums.

The pandemic has obviously had a significant effect on everybody, but disabled people have been particularly affected with many labelled as 'high-risk' and unable to maintain the same level of social interaction as non-disabled people.

One disabled fan remarked that the pandemic has, "reduced my social interaction massively and taken away a simple pleasure from my life". Another said, "The suspension [of live matches] has had a negative impact on me, as going to matches is my main opportunity to socialise. I miss my friends from the stadium, I miss supporting my team. It’s not the same watching on TV, not the same joy".

Download the Impact of Covid-19 Summary Report.

47% of respondents said that they had concerns about returning to live matches, with 15% stating that they would not return until a fully-tested vaccination has been made available. Other fans have been advised by their doctors that it is not yet safe for them to return.

A Spanish fan said, " I am concerned about other people, and if they will respect the new rules at stadiums".

The impact of the pandemic is not limited just to social interaction. 65% of respondents were season ticket holders for the 2019/20 season, with 41% having already renewed for the next season.

Disabled fans unable to return to matches were asked what their clubs could do to continue to support them. 90% were in favour of live matches being streamed online, whilst 37% felt that they would benefit from a support network of other disabled fans.

Fans were also asked about public transport, and 87% of respondents said they would not use it to attend matches when they can return to stadiums. Similarly, a Turkish fan remarked that they were concerned whether limitations on public transport would make it more difficult for them to get to the stadium.