On September 27-28th, 2010, the Centre for Access to Football in Europe visited Kiev to meet key officials responsible for the preparation of EURO 2012 tournament in Ukraine. The main purpose of the visit was to meet with CAFE’s partners in the region and to review the progress of preparation in terms of accessibility for disabled football fans.

It was a very busy few days and during the official meetings with the Minister for Family, Youth and Sports Affairs, Ravil Safiullin and the President of the National Assembly of Disabled People in Ukraine, the current situation with respect to access to public places and sports facilities was discussed. Some burning questions were raised, like overcharging for accessible rooms in hotels, or the poor transport system. 

In the afternoon, CAFE was invited to the office of the Local Organizing Committee EURO 2012 Ukraine. Representatives from the Ukrainian media were invited to the briefing to discuss the topic of accessible Ukraine. Markiyan Lubkivskyi, as Tournament Director for EURO 2012, Valeriy Sushkevych, as Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and Chair of the Committee for Disabled People and Joyce Cook, as Managing Director at CAFE each gave an overview of their responsibilities and the opportunities for disabled people both during EURO 2012 and in legacy. 

Questions were then invited from the floor with not a single empty seat or space to be found in the conference room and the lively stream of question had to eventually be interrupted only because of the time available.

After the meeting with the LOC, CAFE moved to the central stadium Olympiyskyy in Kiev that will play host to the EURO 2012 Final. The stadium is currently under reconstruction, and CAFE was invited to review the project design documentation and on-site progress with some aspects of accessibility still to be taken into consideration. CAFE will use its knowledge and experience and share good practice in the field of accessible stadia to help support the stadium developers in delivering an inclusive venue that is also welcoming to disabled fans.

The next day started at the central railway station in Kiev where an audit of its accessibility was made. More than 20 disabled people made a journey through the key points of the railway station to indentify main the bottlenecks including the physical, sensory and intellectual barriers. After the audit, all the notes and proposals for improvement were presented to the management of the Railway Station.

CAFE’s visit made quite an impact in the Ukrainian media. Working alongside our partners in the region, CAFE aims to influence certain improvements not only to the city’s infrastructure, but, most importantly, in helping to raise awareness among Ukrainian people and the wider European society to ensure a future that is inclusive and accessible for all.

Everyone at CAFE would like to take this opportunity to thank the Minister for Family, Youth and Sports Affairs and the National Assembly of Disabled People in Ukraine, the Tournament Director and the Local Organizing Committee for EURO 2012 and representatives from the Regional Access Committees for their very warm welcome and good hospitality and we look forward to working together in the lead up to 2012.

Published 04/10/2010