Since being commissioned by UEFA to deliver the Disability Access Officer (DAO) project, CAFE has worked to raise awareness of the role and some of the common responsibilities that a DAO may have.

In June 2015, the UEFA Executive Committee approved new Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations, which included the provision requiring clubs to appoint a dedicated Disability Access Officer (article 35bis).

CAFE DAO Project Manager Jochen Kemmer joined the CAFE team in July 2017, leading on our works around promoting the roles and responsibilities of the Disability Access Officer.

Since then, CAFE has delivered a dedicated Disability Access Officer training package for 15 different national associations.

The initial training took place in Germany, followed by sessions in Switzerland, Iceland, Israel, Russia, Ukraine (delivered by CAFE Eastern European Development Officer, Esther Jones Russell), Italy, Estonia, Portugal, Slovakia, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Scotland, Moldova and Armenia.

An additional session, featuring CAFE’s bespoke Disability Inclusion and Etiquette Training (CAFE DIET) package, was delivered in Liechtenstein in June 2018.

The training also often includes presentations by local disability NGOs, disabled fans and their groups (DSAs) and national disability access consultants. Established DAOs from other countries have also attended training sessions to share their own experiences.

Over 540 participants have received the CAFE Disability Access Officer training package since September 2017, helping to raise awareness of the DAO’s position and offering support and solutions to some of the common issues that may arise in their duties.

Speaking on the training package, Jochen said, “We wanted to make sure that we were supporting new and existing DAOs as much as we could, so we discuss some of the typical roles that a DAO may have as well as practical guidance on how to deal with a number of situations”.

“Disability Access Officers should act as the champions of improved access and inclusion at their clubs, so we also help to develop their disability etiquette and communication skills to make them more confident in performing their duties”, added Jochen.

Participants at CAFE Disability Access Officer training programmes are often asked to complete a short feedback form, to help us to further develop our training.

We generally found that participants found the introduction to the social model of disability to be the most important topic of the training, and they were keen to find out more about accessible ticketing policies and safety measures for disabled fans.

One participant in the training remarked, “There are 'easy wins' for DAOs to implement at their grounds such as improving signage, which is relatively inexpensive but hugely helpful. If clubs can understand the value and improve their accessibility accordingly then total access and inclusion becomes the norm.  It is a win/win situation.  We shouldn’t think 'what will it cost us if we do this?' but instead 'what will it cost us if we don’t?'”.

CAFE will continue to deliver Disability Access Officer training this season, with many national associations already signed up to receive the package.

For further information about the CAFE Disability Access Officer training package, please contact Jochen Kemmer at [email protected].

Published 18/09/2018