The 4th International CAFE Conference has now closed, with CAFE Managing Director Joanna Deagle issuing a series of calls to action to the friends and partners in attendance.

The two-day event, held virtually due to ongoing pandemic restrictions, featured many engaging speakers, panelists and contributors covering a range of topics from disabled fans experiences to inclusive employment opportunities within sport and the importance of disbaility representation in sports governance.

Over 400 delegates, moderators and speakers joined the Conference, both as registered attendees through the Attendable platform and via the live stream hosted on the CAFE YouTube channel.

Joanna was joined by Mark Flewitt, Chairman of the CAFE Board of Trustees, to thank everyone for their contributions over the two days of the Conference. In closing, Joanna issued a series of calls to action on behalf of the Conference speakers, CAFE team and Board.

These included:

  • Share access information about your stadiums publicly, so disabled people can be better prepared for their experience
  • Don’t just aim for the minimum standards, but look beyond them and aim to be the best, as you would in other areas
  • Provide opportunities for disabled people to gain meaningful employment within the sporting industry, from entry level to leadership positions
  • Sports need to work together, share best practice and learn from one another. Not only do we need share best practice, but we need to be honest and share our mistakes so that they do not happen again elsewhere
  • Expand the focus beyond physical barriers and ensure non-visibly disabled people are also able to enjoy the game. Training and wider education are key components of the solution
  • Work with municipalities and governments to put the pressure on them, to meet their commitments to European standards and the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
  • There is no place for disability hate incidents, and it is up to all of us to call these out when they occur
  • We have all been invited to contribute to Wethe15 and make a purple pledge. What will your pledge be?
  • Remember there are some excellent practices going on, and submit nominations for the new FC #TotalAccess so we can celebrate the positives and share knowledge
  • Offer greater recognition and further resources to the key role of the Disability Access Officer (DAO) as champions of accessibility within your organisation

Addressing the Conference, Joanna said,

"Please keep going. It is up to all the disabled sports fans, volunteers and employees out there. Your feedback on matches shapes everything we do. Without your help, we would not be able to advise UEFA and FIFA on improvements to their tournaments, we would not be able to raise awareness on what still needs to be done to create an accessible and inclusive environment and we would not be able to create and share relevant guidance".

"Your feedback validates our demands and your questions and comments over the past two days have reminded sport’s governing bodies that they have not done enough. So please keep pushing, keep sharing your experiences and we at CAFE will do everything we can to shine the light on access and inclusion, and show that more needs to be done for disabled people to take their rightful places in sports", added Joanna.

Conference attendees are asked to complete a short feedback survey on their experiences of the event.

Complete the 4th International CAFE Conference Delegate Feedback survey online. The survey is also available as a downloadable Word document.

Feedback will help to inform our decisions ahead of future Conferences and events, and we greatly appreciate your support with the survey. This was our first virtual event on this scale, and your constructive feedback is vitally important to us.

Find out more about the sessions and discussions held on day one and day two of the Conference. You can also read about the CAFE Access and Inclusion Champions Awards winners.

On behalf of the CAFE team and Board of Directors, a huge thank you to everyone who helped to make the 4th International CAFE Conference such a memorable event.

Published 10/12/2021