The working group of the Erasmus+ project - ‘Good Governance Needs Access and Inclusion’ - held a two-day workshop in Paris covering topics including accessible ticketing, consistent experiences across leagues, and disabled supporters associations (DSAs).

The project, working towards good governance in sport through integrating disabled fans’ feedback into national strategies, kicked off in January 2021 with CAFE joining representatives of national associations, leagues and national disabled supporters associations in Belgium, France and Germany.

Universidade Europeia - Portugal (ENSILIS) is also working on the project, and joined the partners in Paris.

In creating their national strategies, all three partner countries found that harmonising ticketing practices was identified as a key priority.

This workshop began with a presentation from the French Football Federation on their ticketing for home national team matches. This was followed by a presentation from the Head of Ticketing at AS Saint-Étienne who discussed the accessible facilities available at the stadium, ticketing policies and accepted proofs of disability.

CAFE led a discussion on accessible ticketing, involving our recommendations for both inclusive ticketing policies and seeking proof of disability at the time of selling tickets. This discussion covered the ways in which disabled fans can purchase tickets and how to determine which proofs would be generally accepted. A number of upcoming European matches were reviewed, to determine how accessibility tickets could be found for these fixtures to illustrate the difficulties many disabled fans can find in doing so.

It was recommended that vendors use a flexible approach to accessible ticket sales, so disabled fans can purchase tickets online, in person or over the telephone.

Accessible parking was also discussed, and stakeholders were encouraged to ensure inclusive policies are also adopted when distributing parking spaces in and around the stadium grounds.

Day one of the workshop closed following a presentation on audio-descriptive commentary (ADC) at the Stade de France. Challenges, such as lack of awareness of the matchday service and issues with identifying listeners due to privacy laws, were covered and led to a healthy discussion between the working group.

The second day of the workshop started with a presentation from Paris 2024 to outline some of the measures and initiatives they are putting in place for disabled spectators ahead of hosting the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The working group then split in two. National DSAs (NDSAs) joined a session led by Level Playing Field Chief Executive Owain Davies, who gave an insight into the structure and funding processes behind the organisation. This gave opportunity for a more intimate, targeted discussion on how an NDSA operates with partners whilst keeping its independence.

This was followed by an in-depth group discussion on disabled fans, DSAs and how to solidify their positions within their clubs and associations. It was agreed that clubs should see DSAs as part of the solution, and proactively engage with their disabled fans to create a positive cooperation.

Partners also identified the importance of seeking investment into DSAs and NDSAs, and considering where supportive legislation already exists that may not be currently enforced.

Working group members representing leagues and national associations attended a presentation from the City of Paris, focusing on ensuring consistent experiences across venues and how this could be replicated across football.

The working group rejoined to get feedback and discuss improvements for next workshop. A project strategy meeting takes place in October 2022 in Lisbon, and more information will be available on the CAFE website in due course.

The Paris workshop was a hugely productive two-day event, with project partners and experts coming together to share experiences and support with potential solutions.

We would like to thank all of the project partners for their cooperation, and thank our guest presenters for their invaluable contributions.

Erasmus+ is the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The programme is managed by the European Commission, and offers funding for international actions to promote inclusive opportunities.

For more information about the ‘Good Governance Needs Access and Inclusion’ project, please email [email protected] or call +44 (0)203 355 9867.

EU flag along with the text: Co-funded by Erasmus+

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Published 27/10/2022