As 2019 draws to a close, the CAFE team has taken a look back over some of our highlights and key projects from the last twelve months.


Celebrating Total Football #TotalAccess

The seventh annual CAFE Week of Action took place in March 2019, and was celebrated in a record-breaking 36 countries.

The initiative, which first started in Poland and Ukraine in 2013, has grown year-on-year and even more national associations, leagues, clubs, disabled fans and their groups joining us to celebrate Total Football #TotalAccess.

Highlights from the 2019 initiative include:

  • 34 clubs across Russia celebrating Total Football #TotalAccess in a range of different ways.
  • A wide range of celebrations and initiatives throughout the week at Scottish clubs Celtic, Rangers and St Johnstone.
  • The introduction of ‘touch tours’ for partially sighted and blind fans at a number of stadiums.
  • Involvement of some of the world’s biggest football clubs, including FC Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.

CAFE has published a summary report of the CAFE Week of Action, including highlights from this year’s campaign and the reach of the initiative.

Read more: CAFE publishes Week of Action 2019 summary report

The CAFE Week of Action returns in 2020, and will be held between 7-15 March. If you are keen to get involved, you can find out more by downloading the CAFE Week of Action 2020 information pack here.

To support disabled fans and their groups in celebrating access and inclusion, CAFE has also launched the CAFE Week of Action small grants programme. The programme offers funding to disabled supporters and DSAs to participate in the CAFE Week of Action. Grants of up to €250 are available, subject to a successful application to CAFE.

Read more: CAFE launches Week of Action small grants programme


Launching the new CAFE website

In September, the CAFE team was delighted to launch our new website. After a successful application to the Transform Foundation, CAFE had the opportunity to reinvent how we deliver our stories and resources and freshen up our look.

The new website includes a number of new features, including the #ShareYourSightlines initiative, an updated Disability Access Officer Portal and the Share Your Story form, allowing disabled fans to easily share their blogs and stories with the team.

The site offers a significant chance for interaction, and we invite you to share your comments and feedback at the foot of all our website pages.

Read more: New CAFE website launches –

Providing guidance to implement inclusive solutions

The new CAFE website also features a dedicated Guidance Notes area, bringing together all of our advice documents to support stakeholders across the game.

In 2019, we launched two new guidance notes on inclusive employment and sensory viewing rooms.

These guidance notes were created in cooperation with numerous experts and advisors, and include case studies to support in implementing these inclusive solutions and best practices at your stadium, club or national association.

Read more: CAFE publishes guidance note on installing sensory viewing rooms

Read more: CAFE publishes guidance note on inclusive employment


Sharing best practices - the Disability Access Officer Network Group

Back in January, FC Barcelona hosted the first meeting of the Disability Access Officer (DAO) Network Group. The group, consisting of some of European football’s leading DAOs, discussed how they can work together with CAFE and UEFA to develop the role further and how to effectively share best practices across other clubs, leagues and national associations.

The meeting was a huge success, with many DAOs remarking on how much they had learned and would take back to their clubs.

Read more: First Disability Access Officer Network Group meeting kicks off in Barcelona

The group continued to work together throughout the year, and in October they met again in Leipzig to update on their developments. The second meeting was also attended by a number of disabled fans, who shared their experiences and discussed how the DAO role can further support them in enjoying an inclusive matchday.

Read more: Second DAO Network Group meeting continues


Celebrating 10 years of partnership with UEFA and preparing for UEFA EURO 2020

CAFE continued to work closely with our partners UEFA, and we celebrated ten years of cooperation in 2019.

Since CAFE was first created in 2009, we have enjoyed a positive and constructive partnership with UEFA and this has continued to flourish in 2019.

Read more: Ten years of success for disability partnership

CAFE continues to offer its advice and guidance on UEFA tournaments and Finals, and published disabled spectators guides for the UEFA Champions League Final, Women’s Champions League Final, Europa League Final, UEFA Super Cup and the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

The guides, featuring information on accessible travel, accommodation and stadium access, were published in English, the local language and, where possible, the languages of all participating teams.

Read more: CAFE publishes information guide for disabled fans attending UEFA Champions League Final 2019

CAFE was proud to work with UEFA around the Champions Festival in Madrid ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final. Alongside our fellow UEFA Football and Social Responsibility (FSR) partners, we maintained a presence in the Festival and provided a demonstration of audio-descriptive commentary for hundreds of fans.

CAFE is also working with UEFA on preparations for UEFA EURO 2020. Dedicated access information is being prepared in each of the 12 host cities, and audio-descriptive commentary will be provided in at least two languages at every match during the tournament.

We have assessed access in and around all 12 host venues, and are providing information to UEFA, local organising committees and disabled fans for each stadium and host city. We have also begun to train audio-descriptive commentators for each venue, and are supporting UEFA in their accessibility ticket sales.

We are hopeful that UEFA EURO 2020 will be the most accessible, inclusive and welcoming EURO to date, and we are hugely excited for the tournament to start on 12 June!

Read more: Apply to become an audio-descriptive commentator at UEFA EURO 2020


Taking our #TotalAccess message around the world

CAFE is continuing to develop our works on a global scale, and have worked with FIFA on a number of areas throughout 2019.

This has included advising on accessibility ticket sales for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland and the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar.

CAFE is also working with a number of FIFA’s football confederations, and in September we presented at the CONCACAF Professional Football Development workshop held in Panama City. CAFE is keen to spread our message of Total Football #TotalAccess across the entire football world, to celebrate a game that is truly accessible, inclusive and welcoming for all.

Read more: CAFE presents at CONCACAF PFD workshop


Welcoming Isobel to the CAFE team

We were delighted to expand the CAFE team during 2019, with Isobel Robins joining us as our full-time Research Officer.

Isobel initially joined the team on a four-month internship, and we are glad to confirm that she will be staying with the CAFE team going forwards.

Isobel has already started a number of research projects, including an analysis of accepted proofs of disability worldwide, and the appropriate use and translation of disability terminology.

Read more: Isobel Robins appointed as Research Intern at CAFE

We also appointed Ana Holmes as a Media and Communications Intern earlier in the year.

Ana played a huge role in preparing the new CAFE website ahead of its launch in September, and we are hugely grateful for her support during her time with us.

Since completing her internship, Ana has moved to Australia to continue to play football and we wish her the very best for the future.


Thank you!

The CAFE Office will close for the festive season at 1700 CET on Friday 20 December, and reopen at 0900 CET on Thursday 2 January 2020.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has worked with us in 2019. Together we have achieved some wonderful successes, and we hope that you will join us again next year in continuing to promote a game that is accessible, inclusive and welcoming for all – Total Football #TotalAccess!

Published 20/12/2019