Working group will ensure stadium access
The Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento, has established a working group with the Gibraltar Football Association and the Ministry of Equality with the aim of making the new National Football Stadium accessible to and inclusive of people with disabilities.
Ms Sacramento had already had discussions on accessibility with the GFA General Secretary, Dennis Beiso, at the outset of the announcement of the new stadium, the Gibraltar Government said in a statement yesterday.
But, at a formal meeting last week between Ms Sacramento, Ministry of Equality officials, Mr Beiso and the GFA’s stadium project managers, it was agreed that it would be mutually beneficial to form a working group to ensure the stadium is properly accessible.
It is already Government policy that all of its new building projects are accessible to people with disabilities and there is the forthcoming building legislation that will make this a legal requirement for all buildings developed and refurbished.
Ms Sacramento said: “Football is a very popular sport, both internationally and locally, it brings together a lot of people, families and friends.”
“There should therefore be no barriers for people who have disabilities to also enjoy this sport, first hand, inside a stadium.”
“These are exciting times, this level of development and investment in sport in Gibraltar is unprecedented and represents the largest venture in not only football, but all sports in the history of Gibraltar.”
“It is absolutely vital for us that accessibility and inclusion figures prominently at the planning stages of this National Football Stadium.”
She added: “It is wonderful to form part of a project of this magnitude and also very gratifying to see how accessibility has been embraced by the GFA who have the same accessibility and inclusion vision for this project as that of the Ministry of Equality and it was pleasing to learn that this had already featured in their plans.”
“For this purpose the GFA officials and project managers are already working with the Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE) to ensure that the stringent accessibility requirements of UEFA are met.”
“The Ministry of Equality will also be providing support and guidance in this landmark project in order to make this a success for all concerned.”
The Minister for Sport, Steven Linares, said: “I am pleased that the GFA is working closely with the Ministry of Equality to make sure that our National Stadium is accessible to all.”
“By working with the Ministry of Equality, issues of accessibility can be addressed properly at an early stage in construction of projects.”
Mr Beiso said: “I am delighted that we have established this new working group with Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar.”
“The GFA has launched, with UEFA’s support, a Football Social Responsibility (FSR) project with the aim of developing a national football stadium in Gibraltar that is fully inclusive, fully accessible, and which incorporates the latest technologies and best practices to ensure that all football fans and all members of our community can enjoy the new stadium with no impediments whatsoever.”
As part of that project, it is essential that we work alongside local and international experts, and the partnerships with UEFA, CAFE and with the Ministry of Equality will ensure that we deliver the very best stadium on accessibility.”