The Old Trafford visit.

Delegation of clubs in Old Trafford visit

Wednesday 19 February 2020 15:22

Last week, Manchester United welcomed a delegation of clubs from Russia and Germany who visited the city as part of a Disability Access Officer (DAO) exchange meeting held by The Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE).

CAFE was established with the objective of enabling more disabled fans to attend live football matches across the continent.
CAFE and KickIn! were set up to help ensure more inclusion in football.
“We are here with a group of disability access officers from England, Germany and Russia for two days in Manchester. This visit was to exchange best practice between disability access officers from those countries, to learn from each other and see the accessible facilities and services Manchester United offer,” explained Jochen Kemmer, Project Manager, CAFE.

The main focus for the visit was to learn about the new accessible facilities which are being built at Old Trafford. The £11 million development will create 118 new wheelchair positions and 158 new amenity seats in a variety of areas around the stadium, including a new purpose-built concourse at the back of the Stretford End.

Daniela Wurbs is based in Germany and represents KickIn!, a national advisory service for inclusion in football, and the national association of disabled supporters, BBAG. Her trip to Old Trafford highlighted the importance of offering choice to all fans. “Something that is impressive for German disability access officers is that you offer great freedom of choice of seating for disabled supporters over different tiers and different categories of seating.

“This is something very unusual in Germany. Normally we only have one wheelchair user section for example. Slowly clubs are changing. Visits like this help to underline the way forward with Manchester United setting an example to follow.”
Elena Popova, Disability Access Officer for the Football Union of Russia, felt that the role that the supporters played in the development was impressive. “It is great to hear that you receive feedback from the fans and you try to improve your stadium according to their feedback.”

“Myself and the six Disability Access Officers from Russia are inspired. The visit is a motivation for us to go forward and to take the best ideas from this experience and implement them in our country.”

Jochen Kemmer summed up the visit: “It was a real honour to be at Old Trafford – the largest club stadium in the UK. Thanks to a number of recent developments and renovations, more disabled fans than ever before are now able to enjoy an accessible and inclusive matchday experience at Manchester United.

A meeting is held to discuss and share ideas around accessibility.

“This is going to continue to improve in the coming years with more accessible seating options, improved sightlines and an all-round more inclusive matchday experience all high on the club’s agenda.

“We congratulate Manchester United on their commitment to improved access and inclusion at Old Trafford, and we look forward to working with them and other partners towards our shared goal of #TotalAccess”.

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