(This story is also available in Spanish).

River Plate hosted an online workshop in collaboration with CAFE, to promote wider access and inclusion amongst key stakeholders in Argentinian football.

The two-day event included a number of discussions and sessions on how clubs and stadiums in Argentina can improve the experience for disabled supporters. Participants also had the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have about accessibility.

River sin Barreras (River without Barriers) is River Plate's department working to improve inclusion for disabled people. Created in 2002, River sin Barreras' vision is to remove potential barriers and facilitate inclusion through universal accessibility - improving the health and quality of life of disabled people and their families.

River Sin Barreras offers personalised attention and support to their members, including active support measures and necessary adaptions that allow equal opportunities for everyone to participate in live sport.

Football is the most popular sport in Argentina, and the power of football in the country has never been more obvious than in recent times with the passing of legendary player Diego Armando Maradona. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring all fans can enjoy the experiences live football brings, and River Plate, through its large membership, actively encourages attitudinal changes in the wider society to dispel any preconceptions around disabled people.

Topics covered during the workshop included the importance of accessible communications, tips for improving accessible infrastructure at the stadium, and a look at some of the accessible projects and initiatives that other clubs have delivered.

There was also a talk led by Denon Athletic, the disabled supporters association of Athletic Club in Bilbao, Spain, on the importance of engaging with disabled fans and working with DSAs.

Ibon Erraiz Fernandez, Vice-President of Denon Athletic, said, "It is fundamental that all fans have the same possibilities to fully enjoy the matchday experience. I’m convinced that relations between disabled fans and disabled supporters associations from different clubs is key to progress towards total access".

Laura Franco Jiménez, a recent Tourism graduate from the University of Sevilla, also shared her experiences in creating a travel guide for the city of Seville in easy-to-read language.

"We all should try to contribute our grain of sand to make people live together in society and equally enjoy their rights. I am glad that we can raise awareness with this workshop", said Laura.

Project Manager Jochen Kemmer, who represented CAFE at the event, said, "We are hugely excited to take our first steps into South America and we are very grateful to River Plate for their support and enthusiasm".

"We hope that many of those who attended the workshop understand that, as well as just being the right thing to do, there are massive opportunities for clubs who embrace access and inclusion. We aim to show how improvements can benefit clubs in the short and long term, and introduce a whole new generation of fans to the stadium, many for the first time", added Jochen.

Lilian Plandolit, the President of River sin Barreras, added, "River Plate promotes inclusive policies that seek to ensure that everyone can exercise the same rights in equality, and eradicate all forms of discrimination".

For further information about the workshop, or about CAFE and our works, you can email [email protected], or call us on +44(0)208 065 5108. You can also contact River sin Barreras by emailing [email protected].

Published 4/12/2020