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Van Nistelrooy on disability and access to football


UEFA Champions League ambassador Ruud van Nistelrooy is supporting this week's Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE)'s 'Total football, total access' campaign.

Van Nistelrooy on disability

To support UEFA social responsibility partner the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), UEFA Champions League ambassador Ruud van Nistelrooy shares his personal experience with disabled fans, respects his disabled niece’s determination, and gives advice to people willing to work in footbal in the video interview above.

CAFE's 'Total football, total access' annual campaign is supported by a large number of fan groups throughout Europe between 4 and 12 March 2017.

UEFA.org: As a former player, do you have a special memory with disabled fans?

Ruud van Nistelrooy: Definitely, I remember at Manchester United there is a disabled stand behind the goal and I think the access there was fantastic. Everything was created so that disabled people could come to Old Trafford and watch the game.

After the game there were also moments where we, as players, passed by for autographs, photos. I really enjoyed it, it was always great to see that disabled people are able to go to matches, to go to see games.

UEFA.org: Can disabled people work in football?

Van Nistelrooy: A disability doesn't mean that a person can't function the same as a non-disabled person. I think that it doesn't matter if you are disabled or not. I have a niece who is severely disabled and she is an inspiration to me as well.
What she is able to do with her life and the mental strength she shows is fantastic. It's an inspiration to get everything out of your life.

UEFA.org: What's your message to disabled people wishing to work in football?

Van Nistelrooy: My message to them would be that when they have a strong feeling of motivation to become a great leader or a coach. In sports as well, in disabled sports, I think they should push and follow their dreams and their instincts. There are so many great examples of people and I can't wait to see more of this.