The Malta Football Association last week hosted two representatives of the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) as part of our on-going commitment to improve stadium accessibility for persons with disability and to offer them a better, more inclusive matchday experience.
Joanna Deagle, CAFE Managing Director, and Amy Wilson, CAFE Fans Liaison and Administration Officer, conducted awareness sessions for Disability Access Officers (DAO) engaged with local clubs and Malta FA stadium personnel.
CAFE is a Corporate Social Responsibility associate partner of UEFA.
In the first session, Deagle offered an insight into the role of the Disability Access Officer whose principal responsibility is to facilitate accessibility and inclusion for disabled persons at football matches.
Wilson shared her experiences of attending live matches in England and across Europe as a disabled fan for the past two decades with MFA stadium staff during the second session.
The workshop addressed a number of important topics, namely how to increase inclusivity for fans who have some form of disability, etiquette and how to interact with them, and how to improve their matchday experience.
By inspiring many more disabled people to attend live matches and to get involved in local volunteering activities, CAFE aims to stimulate social inclusion, encourage interaction between citizens and contribute to intercultural learning and bring to the fore both Europe’s diversity and unity.
The visit of Ms Deagle and Ms Wilson coincided with the CAFE Week of Action between March 4 and 12. CAFE’s aim for this season’s initiative is for even more countries to get involved and join the celebrations of access and inclusion.
During their stay in Malta, Deagle and Wilson, together with Peter Busuttil, the Malta FA DAO and Supporters Liaison Officer, visited the National Stadium and Hibernians Stadium.
The two CAFE officials expressed their appreciation for the Malta FA efforts to ameliorate the facilities and matchday experience for disabled persons at local stadia during a meeting with Association officials, led by senior vice-president Ludovico Micallef.
Deagle and Wilson also met Chris Agius, the Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sports, and Oliver Scicluna, the Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disability.