The third meeting of the Disability Access Officer (DAO) Network Group took place between 8-9 February, with DAOs from across Europe coming together to share best practice solutions and ideas.

The event, taking place via Zoom due to ongoing travel restrictions, followed on from earlier meetings in Barcelona and Leipzig.

Day one kicked off with updates from each DAO on their recent projects, initiatives and challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was followed by an update from CAFE on a range of ongoing works, including the preparations for UEFA EURO 2020 and the upcoming CAFE Week of Action.

The group then entered into a series of breakout discussions, aimed to consider how DAOs can ensure that non-visibly disabled fans and fans with long-term health conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, are welcomed at their clubs and venues.

Day one closed out with a discussion on the growth and development of the DAO Network, and how the group could greater support one another through shared experiences and information.

The meeting resumed on day two with presentations from Navilens and the Digital Accessibility Centre on advances and solutions around digital accessibility. DAOs were asked to consider the challenges around digital accessibility, and what they could take back following the meeting to improve the situation at their clubs.

The final session of the meeting was led by Bradford City, who showcased their accessible and inclusive volunteering programme which supports disabled people in getting involved with a range of matchday and non-matchday activities.

Project Manager Jochen Kemmer said, "The DAO Network Group continues to develop and support the wider development of access and inclusion strategies, and it was great to see such lively discussion between those in attendance".

"Though it would have been lovely to meet in person once again, we were still able to enjoy a very positive and constructive two days. I would like to thank everyone who attended, especially our guest speakers, and we look forward to continuing our shared efforts on this important topic".

Red Bull Salzburg DAO Florian Wöckl said, "It was my first time attending at a DAO meeting and it was really very inspiring to meet other DAOs from all over Europe. It was interesting to learn how the role of DAOs is dealt with in other countries, and what the main topics in their daily works are".

"The presentations by the other DAOs, guest speakers and experts gave plenty of suggestions for our own improvements in these areas. Thank you very much for a really interesting meeting, and I am really looking forward to the next one", added Florian.

Find out more about the DAO Network Group, and visit the CAFE DAO Portal for further information and guidance for DAOs.

Published 11/2/2021