Dunfermline Athletic’s match against Hibernian on Saturday 22 October will be the centrepiece of a Disability Awareness Day (DA-Day), designed to highlight the problems faced by disabled football supporters and how they can be overcome.
Dunfermline’s General Manager Michael Mlotkiewicz explained:
“Dunfermline Athletic takes its responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 very seriously,and we’re constantly looking at ways to improve the matchday experience, both for our own
and for visiting disabled supporters. We’re proud of what we have achieved so far, but there is still a lot to do.”
All supporters entering the ground will be given a flyer with some facts about disability and about Dunfermline Athletic Disabled Supporters’ Club (DADSC). Fans can buy DADSC merchandise from a stall in the Norrie McCathie Stand, and a bucket collection will raise
funds to help give wheelchair access to the function suites at East End Park, by way of an external lift.
Before the match, Sammy the Tammy (Scotland’s No 1 Mascot) will perform a routine relating to disability. There will be a special matchday programme, with features on disabled Pars supporters.
The teams will be escorted onto the pitch by disabled supporters from each club, and as well as having the DADSC badge on their warm-up tops, the Dunfermline players will play the match wearing specially-commissioned one-off shirts, featuring the DADSC badge.
These have been approved by the SFA and SPFL and are being auctioned to raise funds for the DADSC lift project.
The half-time football entertainment will be by disabled children from The Pars Foundation’s“Rising Stars” programme. Meanwhile, local athletes who have competed in the Special Olympics will parade around the touchline, possibly joined by some members of Team GB from the Rio Paralympics.
Hospitality guests in the Purvis Suite will have the chance to meet the European champion and 2012 Paralympian swimmer Craig Rodgie (who is also a Pars fan.) Even the 50:50 half-time draw will be part of the day’s proceedings, as it will take place on one of the disabled viewing platforms.John Simpson, Secretary of DADSC, said:
“We are very grateful to DAFC, not only for what the club has done so far in improving facilities for disabled supporters, but now for this chance to show both the problems and theachievements of disabled people. We want all Pars and Hibs fans to “see the person, not the disability.”