Committed to providing improved access and facilities for disabled football fans, UEFA is donating €3,000 for every goal scored at UEFA EURO 2012 to the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), the official tournament charity.
As part of the Respect programme at UEFA EURO 2012, UEFA is working with CAFE to manage separate Respect Inclusion initiatives, and football followers and other benefactors are being encouraged to donate money for upcoming schemes.
CAFE was set up via UEFA's CHF1m charity cheque in 2009 to promote and ensure equal access across the region covered by UEFA's member national associations. It provides support, guidance and advice to partners and stakeholders, which include UEFA, national associations, leagues and clubs, disabled fans and disabled supporter groups.
The work on improving access to sports facilities for disabled people will extend beyond the tournament. CAFE will continue its activities with local partners in Poland and Ukraine, leaving a long-lasting legacy in the host countries. In particular, funds raised will be invested in the maintenance of audio-descriptive commentary during matches for blind and partially-sighted football supporters in the co-host nations. For the tournament itself, audio descriptive commentaries will be provided at every UEFA EURO 2012 game thanks to the Respect Inclusion – Football With No Limits project.
Audio descriptive commentary differs from generic commentary, in that it is much more focused on the atmosphere opposed to a statistical analysis. The purpose of the service is to explain clearly to blind and partially-sighted fans exactly what is happening in the stadium and on the pitch in as great detail as possible.
Two audio-descriptive commentators at each match will cater for blind and partially-sighted supporters, who will tune in via headsets provided prior to the match. The specialist equipment is being made available by the UEFA EURO 2012 organisers, and will be dedicated to CAFE's ongoing legacy project in both countries following the tournament.
"We have been lucky enough to discover a large pool of volunteers with a real passion for audio descriptive commentary," said CAFE managing director Joyce Cook. "Many of the volunteers had no previous experience of commentating, and it was very exciting for us to see how well they took to it."
"At the start of the seminar, I commented that listening to a football match was often like a black and white movie; by the end of it, I saw a rainbow," said Larysa Sayevich, project coordinator in Donetsk, and a blind football supporter herself.
CAFE will be using any funds donated at the finals to continue the work undertaken under the umbrella of the UEFA EURO 2012 Respect Inclusion project. Donations will support workshops for football clubs and stadiums in Poland and Ukraine, aiming to improve access for disabled fans. They will learn how to raise access standards and will share knowledge on stadia and club accessibility. Disabled fans' networks at club and national level will also be set up. Small grants will be made to disabled fan groups to implement awareness campaigns and set up supporters associations.
Donations are welcomed for the following reasons:
€5 will buy a headset so that a blind supporter can receive special audio-described commentary at a live event
€50 will provide 150 access and disability awareness information leaflets for sports clubs
€200 will help disabled people to set up a local disabled fans group – empowering disabled people to work with their clubs to improve access
€500 will train a local volunteer to deliver specialised audio-descriptive commentary to blind fans
€1,500 will provide the audio-descriptive commentary equipment for a sports club
€5,000 will provide accessible transport to local disabled fans on match days for a whole season
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