CAFE looks back at the activities of friends and partners across the world who came together on 3 December to celebrate International Day of Disabled People 2020.

International Day of Disabled People has been celebrated since 1992, when the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 47/3, encouraging its member states to intensify their efforts to improve access and inclusion.

There was a dual theme this year, with the first of these being 'Not all disabilities are visible'. To coincide with this year's celebration, CAFE published the findings of our research project into non-visibly disabled people and people with long-term health conditions.

The second aspect of this year's theme was 'Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World', which ties into another CAFE project from earlier this year, the CAFE Impact of Covid-19 Summary Report

CAFE also marked the occasion by publishing, in association with, a story on the importance of empowering disabled people to act as self-advocates, and CAFE's support for the creation and development of disabled supporters associations (DSAs).

We were delighted to celebrate International Day of Disabled People alongside our friends and partners at UEFA, who once again outlined their commitment to access and inclusion, and celebrated the launch of Para Football - a new not-for-profit foundation working with federations and governing bodies around the world to promote inclusive opportunities for disabled footballers.

Through the UEFA and UEFA Foundation social media accounts, they reaffirmed our shared belief that everybody deserves the same opportunity to enjoy football. We thank UEFA for their continued support and partnership.

FIFA also celebrated International Day of Disabled People, raising greater awareness of the projects and initiatives it delivers to support increased access and inclusion.

Joyce Cook, FIFA Chief Social Responsibility & Education Officer, said, "As a disabled woman, I know first-hand that what matters most is the spirit of football, the sheer joy, togetherness and wellbeing it can offer to those most isolated and excluded. Whether we play, work in or watch football, we all share the same love and passion for our beautiful game – and we must never forget that sport belongs to each and every one of us".

 UEFA IDDP Tweet with 4 photos of disabled football players and fans

FIFA tweet for IDDP with quote: "Never forget that sport belongs to each and every one of us".

A number of clubs across Europe used social media to demonstrate their commitment to equal access, including Premier giants Manchester United, Liverpool FC and Championship side Watford, as well as Spanish La Liga clubs Barcelona CF and Villarreal CF, amongst many others. 

Wheelchair user with Manchester United foundation coach

Disabled liverpool fans with the premier league trophy

tweet from Watford FC for IDDP

Disabled Villareal fans and participants

tweet from the Barca foundation for IDDP with a screenshot of a virtual conversation between disabled fan David and club legend Carles Puyol.

Footballers themselves got involved too, with Panathinaikos and Greek international Tasos Chatzigiovanis and legendary Spanish striker Fernando Morientes each taking the time to celebrate the global event.

Instagram post by Panathinaikos player for IDDP with a photo of him and a wheelchair user fan as a mascot on the pitch

Tweet from Fernando Morientes in Spanish showing his support for IDDP

Bayern Munich demonstrated fantastic support for the occasion by arranging for the Allianz Arena to be lit up in purple for the first time ever on Thursday 3 December, from around 16:30 to 23:00 CET. 

Bayern Munich the Allianz Arena lit up in purple for IDDP

FCB president Herbert Hainer: 

“Together with our partner Allianz, FC Bayern wants to send out a signal about the rights and concerns of disabled people. Football, and sport in general, has the power and the duty to unite all people. There are no barriers for any of us. Our club stands for diversity and inclusion.”

A similar activity took place at Wembley Stadium, where the iconic arch was lit up purple to celebrate International Day of Disabled People.

These were some of the highlights of the global event that aimed to celebrate the diverse roles disabled people can play within the wider society and a show of solidarity with the estimated 1.85 billion disabled people living today.

If you have any questions around CAFE's IDDP activities or reports, please email CAFE at [email protected] or call +44 (0)208 065 5108.

Published 04/12/20