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Published on 17 May 2012
NAME: Oleksandr Sydelnykov
I SUPPORT: Sevastopol
I fell in love with football as a young child, when I used to play with my friends at school. As I got older, I met people who supported so many different teams. It was fantastic to have the chance to learn all about different clubs and leagues.
I eventually moved to Sevastopol and met my wife. A lot of things changed in my life, and the time available for me to enjoy football was greatly reduced. However when my sons had grown up, my interest in the game came back all over again.
By this time, my condition meant that the only real way for me to enjoy football was by using the Internets. I missed the bright lights, high emotions and roaring sounds of a huge crowd of supporters. I missed the incomparable feeling of being at a match.
In the 2009-10 season, Sevastopol were very close to gaining promotion to the top division here in Ukraine. As a supporter I was very eager to witness it - I had to go to the stadium and see it. The journey in my wheelchair was hard work, but eventually I made it. I was able to share this great moment with my fellow supporters. It was incredible.
The Centre for Access to Football in Europe offered us a huge amount of support to make sure that the to-be renovated stadium would be fully accessible for disabled supporters and with UEFA EURO 2012 approaching in Ukraine, the access issues were considered very seriously.
The changes have been remarkable. The stadium is now ready for disabled supporters to come and watch the team. We have also received great help from the club, as they have provided us with buses to take us to see our team. We now have a significant number of disabled football fans coming to watch every home match, with more and more coming each week. I have now become coordinator of our disabled supporters group, and I am so happy to be able to share my love of football with all my new friends, just as I did when I was a young boy.
It is crucial that more is done for disabled supporters, as there is nothing better than football to bring people together. Being able to go and watch my team has made a huge difference to my life, and more people should have this opportunity.
Every donation counts:
€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
€1500 will provide the audio-descriptive commentary equipment for a sports club
€5000 will provide accessible transport to local disabled fans on match days for a whole season
€10,000 will enable a regional match buddy system to be established with volunteers helping disabled fans to attend live sports as companions or match buddies
Please give generously – thanks to you we can make a real difference to many disabled people so they can enjoy football alongside their fellow fans – Access for All.
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