Since 2009, CAFE has formed a strong partnership with UEFA, working to ensure that disabled people are able to take their rightful places across all levels of football.

Football is the world’s most popular game, so it is of the utmost importance that disabled people are able to enjoy live matches alongside their friends, families and fellow fans.

With over one billion disabled people living today – the world’s largest minority group – watching live football has to be an inclusive and welcoming experience.

CAFE has advised UEFA on access at Finals and tournaments for a number of years, and we have worked together to make access improvements ahead of each major event. This has included improved sightlines, the implementation of services such as audio-descriptive commentary and the creation of new accessible seating areas.

We have tried to strike a balance between the number of accessible seats available and the experience that disabled fans will have in those seats. In rare circumstances, this has resulted in a small number of existing accessible seating options being reduced due to poor sightlines and access.

UEFA has consistently shown its commitment to our topic of access and inclusion, and from 2019, all venues bidding to host UEFA’s showcase Finals and tournaments will now be required to implement Access for All standards.

In practice, this means that many more disabled people will be able to enjoy Finals and tournaments in an accessible environment. From next year, for a venue to be chosen to host a UEFA Final or tournament it must at least meet the minimum number of accessible seating as outlined in Access for All. The stadium must also implement audio-descriptive commentary to ensure partially sighted and blind fans can enjoy an inclusive experience.

Access for All is UEFA and CAFE’s Good Practice Guide to Creating an Accessible Stadium and Matchday Experience. The guide not only outlines the minimum number of accessible seating that a stadium should have (in line with established European standards) but also advises on accessible services, concourses, toilets, entrances, exits and any other stadium facilities that a disabled fan may use during their matchday.

For more information about Access for All, and to download the guide in 14 languages, please click here.

CAFE Managing Director Joanna Deagle said, “We value our ongoing cooperation with UEFA, which has resulted in a great deal of access improvements being made at stadiums across Europe. UEFA has shown how seriously it takes access and inclusion, and we are delighted that access will now be an essential criteria for venues bidding to host tournaments and Finals”.

Joanna added, “We hope this leads to a trickle-down effect where other clubs and stadiums begin to understand the many benefits that an accessible stadium brings, and proactively seek to meet and exceed the minimum requirements”.

In addition to our works to improve access at host stadiums, CAFE also publishes disabled fans guides ahead of UEFA competition finals and major tournaments.

For more information or if you have any questions or queries, please feel free to contact CAFE by email to i[email protected].

Published 23/05/2018