The SFSA Disability Fans, Players and Football Project

Date: 22nd March 2024

I’m of an age when I can remember the blue three-wheeled disabled cars that used to line the touchline at big games in Scotland.  We’ve come a long way since then, with our bigger clubs especially providing much better services to cater for the needs of fans with physical and unseen disabilities. Yes, there are always areas for improvement, but we’d prefer to emphasise the positive: to celebrate the advances that have been made, while also acknowledging that we need to continue to improve.

In addition to the improvements in facilities for disabled fans, there has also been a recognition that those with disabilities can also enjoy playing football. To that end, the SFSA has started to engage with a number of organisations, including the Amputee Football Association Scotland team to the Scottish Deaf FA team, as well as Scottish Para Football. In so doing, we’ve learned a lot ourselves and, over the course of the next few months, we hope to share some of our interviews and stories, as well as highlighting successes at a number of clubs across the country.

While researching this subject, we discovered that the old Scottish Disabled Football Supporters Association, which had done some excellent work in the past, seems to have faded from the scene.  We were approached by Level Playing Field, the leading football disability campaigning organisation that currently works mostly in England and Wales, but who tell us that they are increasingly getting requests from Scotland for help.  We think they are worth supporting and would encourage disabled supporters’ groups and teams to get in touch with them, which you can do here.

Obviously, the majority of those going to or playing football do not suffer from disabilities.  However, we believe that the attitudes of the able-bodied towards the disabled have changed markedly for the better in the last few decades.

Please watch out for our video interviews and published articles on our website and our social media. We’ll be sharing as much as we can across Facebook and Twitter, so please join us in encouraging all fans and players to do what they can to help everyone with visible and non-visible disabilities to enjoy the sport we all love.

Stuart Murphy, CEO, SFSA

 P.S. Thanks to our Ops Director, Alastair Blair, and our Engine Room students, Aidan and Erik, for all the work they have done to make this project happen.

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