The role of the Disability Access Officer (DAO) continues to develop across Europe, and earlier this year a number of Swiss DAOs met at the Stade de Suisse, Bern to share their experiences and learn more about the role.

The meeting, held back in September, brought together DAOs from Switzerland's two top divisions, as well as representatives of the Swiss Football League (SFL), the Swiss Association for Blind and Partially Sighted People (SBV) and Radio Blind Power.

CAFE Project Manager Jochen Kemmer also attended the meeting, providing an introduction to CAFE and our works as well as a short DAO training package and further information about the role.

The SFL had just introduced the DAO criterion into their club licensing regulations, and this meeting was the first of its kind in Switzerland. Thomas Gander, representing the SFL at the meeting, discussed the League's new strategy which includes a greater emphasis on access and inclusion works.

SBV representatives told the meeting of some of the common issues faced by partially sighted and blind people in Switzerland, before providing a session advising on how to best communicate with partially sighted and blind people. They were joined at the meeting by Radio Blind Power, who provide audio-descriptive commentary at Swiss matches in cooperation with the SFL.

Radio Blind Power outlined some of the benefits of such an inclusive service, including the greater empowerment of disabled people and increased attendances at matches.

Speaking after the meeting, Jochen Kemmer said, "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the first ever meeting of the newly appointed DAOs in Switzerland. It is great to see the SFL and the Swiss clubs taking on this new challenge, and I am optimistic that this kick-off meeting was a great start to a more inclusive matchday for disabled fans all over Switzerland".

For further information about the Disability Access Officer role, and to download the UEFA and CAFE DAO Handbook, please click here.

Published 14/12/2017