27 January 2021 – The international Erasmus+ project “Good governance needs access and inclusion”, in which DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga is involved as a cooperation and network partner, got under way at a virtual meeting in January. The Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), a partner organisation of UEFA, is responsible for the three-year project. As well as bringing together the various project partners, the aim is to further increase awareness of the needs of people with disabilities while also improving conditions and opportunities for participation.
How can we ensure that everyone participates autonomously and equally in the various aspects of football as a spectator sport? How can we remove barriers that cause exclusion?
It is exactly these key questions which are to be addressed and answered in the international Erasmus+ project; as a partner, the DFL will apply its expertise and practical experience from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2.
Even though spectators are currently banned from football stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic, constant improvement of conditions for people with disabilities inside and outside the stadium is a long-term aim.
Along with German representatives of the DFL and DFB, representatives of the football associations and leagues in Belgium (KBVB and Pro League) and France (FFF and LFP) are taking part.
International exchange to improve accessibility
The participants are working together to devise national and international strategies for improving accessibility at matches. In addition to the removal of physical and infrastructural barriers, there is also a focus on lots of other dimensions, such as the removal of digital barriers, so as to allow even more participation in the areas of ticketing and online club shops. These strategies and suggestions will be devised and discussed in conjunction with the fan interest groups that are also involved in the project. The Federal Association of Disabled Football Fans in Germany (BBAG), which has been collaborating with the DFL for over 15 years and is also represented in the Fan Culture Working Group, will be participating as a German interest group.
We are really looking forward to working closely with the network partners in this European project, which very much complements the wide-ranging measures that the DFL has instigated to increase participation in and around football.Ansgar Schwenken, Member of the DFL Management Board
A host of project activities are also planned, in particular workshops and surveys of fans with disabilities as well as the development of national access strategies in virtual meetings. Insofar as the pandemic-related restrictions and the associated focus on infection protection allow, on-site visits are also be made in order to gain direct insight into the international work on accessibility. The entire process is backed by the Portuguese university Educação e Formação, Unipessoal Lda (ENSILIS).
CAFE Managing Director Joanna Deagle said: “This is an extremely exciting opportunity that we have gratefully accepted. The project started in January with its first virtual partners’ meeting. We are looking forward to working closely with our project partners, and hope to be able to bring about real change for people with disabilities.”
Ansgar Schwenken, Director for Football Affairs & Fans and Member of the DFL Management Board, also welcomes the project, which is supported and backed by the Fan Affairs department: “The DFL has been dealing with the issue of accessibility in various areas for some time now. Important projects have been delivered here, in close cooperation with the fans, disability officers, the BBAG and others. The likes of the KickIn advisory body on inclusion in football, which the DFL helped to set up four years ago, are also involved in paving the way for even more participation in the football experience in the stadium and far beyond. We are really looking forward to working closely with the network partners in this European project, which very much complements the wide-ranging measures that the DFL has instigated to increase participation in and around football.”
Erasmus+ is an EU programme for supporting education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The programme is managed by the European Commission and provides funds for international measures to promote inclusive opportunities.
Click here for further information on the project.
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