Disabled supporters associations (DSAs) have been adapting to the current climate and keeping in touch amid social distancing restrictions.

Russia's first disabled supporters association - CSKA DSA - has created a WhatsApp group so members could keep in touch during the restrictions. This gave members the opportunity to share club news, host quizzes and talk with their fellow DSA members.

CSKA DSA has also been working closely with CSKA Moscow during the suspension of live matches to ensure that the experience of differently disabled fans continues to improve.

Disabled people are now able to take part in accessible stadium tours, including the pitch, changing rooms and players' tunnel. The accessible tour also now includes the graffiti area of the fan sector, meaning that disabled fans can now visit a number of different areas of the stadium that they previously couldn't access.

Due to social distancing rules, five disabled fans and their companions took part in an accessible stadium tour. Participants were required to wear face coverings and gloves, as required by Russian regulations, with temperature checks carried out on entry. Fans who were not able to join the tour could follow it via Zoom.

As live crowds slowly return to Russian stadiums, CSKA DSA will now have a dedicated page in the club's matchday programme with updates on the group's activities.

Rollwagerl 93 summer partyRollwagerl 93 - the disabled supporters group at Bayern Munich - also met recently for their annual summer party. The event was held just outside of Munich, and good weather meant that it was possible to hold the party outdoors.

The event would usually welcome up to 120 members of the DSA, however due to social distancing restrictions this was limited to 30 guests this summer.

The party marked the first time that Rollwagerl 93 members have been able to meet together since the last match they attended on 8 March, and feedback was very positive. Members mentioned that the party felt like the start of a return to normality, and were looking forward to keeping in touch with their fellow DSA members.

CAFE Fans Liaison, Access and Administration Officer, Amy Wilson, said, "It has been great to see DSAs continuing to offer support to their members during these testing times. A lack of social interaction can be particularly difficult for many disabled people, which can in turn negatively impact on health and wellbeing".

"DSAs have a key role to play in enabling disabled people to keep in touch with fellow fans, and this is particularly important at the moment. It is also the perfect opportunity for DSAs to continue to work with their clubs so that, when larger crowds can return to stadiums, they can do so in an even more accessible and welcoming environment", added Amy.

We would be interested to hear how your DSA has helped to support its members during the pandemic, and how you have worked with your club. If you would like to share your story, please email [email protected] or call us on +44 (0)208 065 5108.

Published 12/8/2020