The Football Association of Ireland, through their Football For All programme has established a new supporters club in partnership with all disability governing bodies throughout the country.

The FAI’s Football for All programme supports in excess of 3,900 players nationwide every year in cooperation with our programme partners, Special Olympics Ireland, Association of Irish Powerchair Football, Football for All Schools, Irish Deaf Sports, Irish Blind Sports, Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland, Irish Wheelchair Sport, National Learning Network / Rehab Care, Street Leagues Ireland, Down Syndrome Ireland, Dyspraxia Ireland, Acquired Brain Injuries Ireland/Headway and Amputee Ireland. The Football for All programme improves opportunities for players with a disability to enjoy football at over 40 venues throughout the country.

The FAI is keen to ensure the Irish football experience at the Aviva stadium is available to all. The stadium takes centre stage among Europe’s stadia in regards to access ensuring all supporters can receive the same great experience at any event they attend. Having the ability to offer such an experience to all Republic of Ireland supporters, FAIISC has been established. This new affiliate of the ‘Boys in Green’ aims to represent Irish supporters with disability views, issues and concerns within the Aviva stadium and the FAI. The key objectives of FAIISC are:

  • To be a voice for Irish fans with a disability
  • To enrich the experience of Irish fans with a disability at the AVIVA stadium
  • To raise disability awareness
  • To be a source of information on access to AVIVA stadium for its members

Any revenues from the inclusive supporters club will go towards the funding of our extensive football for all programmes working with 12 disability groups and enable 3,900 people with disabilities every year to participate in our sport. Since the Football for All programme was started by the FAI, more than €2m has been spent by the Association in this area.

National Coordinator of the Football For All programme with the FAI Oisin Jordan commented: “The establishment of a supporters association for fans with a disability was an idea we have worked to develop with our disability group partners for the new AVIVA stadium. The FAIISC will ensure our existing fans with disabilities receive an unforgettable experience at the home of Irish football and will also encourage new fans with disabilities to become involved”.

David Glynn Chairman of FAIISC and Irish Blind Sports member: "On behalf of the committee I would like to thank the FAI, in particular Oisin Jordan, for taking the opportunity to recognise the need for improved access to International games. It is a new era for the FAI and the AVIVA Stadium and we are delighted to be a part of this. We hope that by setting up this group it will revolutionise the way people with a disability follow the Ireland International team not just by attending games but by meeting people in a similar situation. The FAI have really made an effort to recognise each section of our group and combat the difficulties previously faced by attending football games"

Joyce Cook, CAFE (Centre for Access to Football in Europe)Managing Director said: “We congratulate the FAI and its disabled supporter representatives in the Republic of Ireland for establishing the new FAI Inclusive Supporters Club. It’s been a pleasure working with everybody in setting up this new national group which will only help to improve the situation for Irish disabled fans both at home and internationally. Everyone at CAFE looks forward to our continuing friendship and co-operation with all involved.”

FAI Chief Executive, John Delaney said, “One of the priorities of the Association once we moved to Aviva stadium was the founding of a supporters’ club for people with disabilities. We now have this new fantastic home and it is important for it to be accessible to everyone and for everyone to have a positive experience on match days.”

Mary Hanafin TD Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport said "I would like to congratulate the FAI on this extremely worthwhile initiative. Everyone involved with Sport shares the same objective of equal access for all supporters. Supporters of the Irish International Football team who attend the Aviva Stadium will now be able to share in the wonderful atmosphere that the home crowd generates confident in the knowledge that their needs will be looked after."

Fans with a disability interested in becoming members of FAIISC can do so by completing the application form that can be found on the home page of the FAI website . If members want to purchase a season ticket for the AVIVA details can be found on the application form.

Published 03/12/2010