Fans in the stadiums and in front of their TV screens have been hailing the goals as they continue to fly in at UEFA EURO 2012 – and the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), the official tournament charity – have more reason than most to cheer with joy as the ball hits the net.
UEFA is donating €3,000 to CAFE for each goal scored at the tournament. The now concluded group stage has seen no less than 60 goals in 24 games – which means that European football’s governing body has so far donated €180,000, happy in the knowledge that it is contributing to giving improved access and facilities for disabled football fans.
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 CHF 1m 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.
Joyce Cook, CAFE's managing director, is delighted with Europe's sharpshooters as the knockout stage comes around. "It's been an amazing tournament for us so far, and especially as the official EURO 2012 tournament charity," she said. "I'm surprised that the whole of Europe can't hear our cheers every time a goal is scored, as UEFA is donating €3,000 per goal – so we're all hoping for the highest scoring tournament ever.
"People really do care about inclusion and improving access for disabled fans, and that's encouraging to know," she added. "We're already making a difference with the UEFA EURO 2012 Respect Inclusion project – the social and access changes we've been able to influence so far in Poland and Ukraine have been ground-breaking – but we still have so much more to do! Please do show your solidarity for disabled fans by donating via our website. Every donation counts – a huge thank you from all of us."
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.
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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