During a magnificent evening of celebration on the pitch of one of the most renowned stadiums in the world, leaders in stadia helped TheStadiumBusiness to raise more than £2,000 for the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE).

Recognised for their contribution to making football more accessbible to disabled supporters, CAFE were announced as ‘Industry Partner of the Year’ on the night and the Award was collected by Media & Communications Manager Mike Rice on behalf of Managing Director, Joyce Cook who was disappointed not to be able to attend.

TheStadiumBusiness Awards also named CAFE as the official charity for 2016 and an auction of a signed Ronaldo shirt and a signed Lionel Messi boot, donated by Cedar Packaging, raised almost £1,000 with generous donations from MANICA Architecture and Rewind.com. TheStadiumBusiness (owned by Xperiology) pledged to match any funds that were raised on the night and are delighted to be able to present CAFE with a cheque for nearly £2,000 in the next few weeks.

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On receiving the award Mike Rice said: “At CAFE, we work hard to ensure that disabled people can take their rightful place in the game that we love, not just as spectators and players but also as administrators, coaches, decision makers and leaders. This award recognises the important role that disabled people, who constitute the largest minority group, can play in football and other sports”.

Speaking after the awards, Joyce Cook added: “We are very proud of CAFE and the works we undertake with our partners in football. Providing an accessible stadium and an inclusive matchday can have a massive impact for many disabled people. Disabled fans around Europe have described the sense of belonging, well-being and social inclusion they experience when watching live sports alongside family and friends. It is often about so much more than a game of football and more and more clubs are realising that good access and a friendly welcome are extremely good for business. A huge thank you to TheStadiumBusiness Summit for presenting us with this award which will help us to ensure that access and inclusion in sports remains firmly on everyone’s agenda”.

CAFE Chairman, David Bernstein, paid tribute to the support UEFA provides to ensure CAFE’s ongoing works: “We are delighted by this wonderful news and wish to extend our special thanks this evening to UEFA for their generous funding support and for their unwavering commitment to CAFE and our works which has been ongoing since 2009. UEFA has been progressive in this area and we look forward to continuing to work together for many years to come, to ensure lasting change”.

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