‘I’m a wheelchair user and I can go to a match’

4 July 2016

‘I’m a wheelchair user and I can go to a match’

Jean-Pierre Inacio is a football fan, and he happens to use a wheelchair, but nothing could stop him from attending a match. He shared his journey to UEFA EURO 2016 with us.

What does it take for a football fan who uses a wheelchair to go from his home to a stadium to experience a UEFA EURO 2016 match? As UEFA continues to work on improving access to football, we followed Jean-Pierre Inacio to the Stade de Bordeaux to watch Belgium take on the Republic of Ireland.

 “What I like about football, and particularly at the moment for the EUROs, is to have the chance to be surrounded by European fans, to meet people, and to share the excitement,” he explained. “That’s what life is all about!”

Jean-Pierre also encourages other disabled fans who might be hesitant to go to a match. “My advice for someone with reduced mobility is, of course, to go to the stadium, if that person wants to go,” he said.

Working hand in hand with social responsibility partner the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), as well as city and stadium authorities, UEFA has been building on the football accessibility achievements of UEFA EURO 2012 to make the 2016 edition a socially inclusive event.

Joyce Cook, CAFE managing director and campaigner for better access for disabled sports fans, shared her views on the matter. “Jean-Pierre’s EURO 2016 story will resonate with most football fans and highlights why CAFE and UEFA’s commitment to disabled fans is so important. Without good access, disabled people are quite simply excluded.

“The UEFA EURO 2016 ‘Respect – Access for All’ project has enabled us to build on the great work we started together in Poland and Ukraine four years ago and we are looking forward to the next four years as we all strive for Total Football Total Access across Europe.”

Both infrastructure and services have been further developed – from parking tickets to disabled fan entrances and reduced queues, as well as buggies from entrances to lifts, and Audio-Description Commentary (ADC). Volunteers have specifically been trained to guide, support and respond to any inquiry that disabled fans might have.

To watch the video of Jean-Pierre’s experience, please click here.


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