Football: Bundesliga club SC Freiburg sticks to the inclusion theme

“The situation is much better here at the Europark,” says Alexander, who is very satisfied with his favorite club’s move from Schwarzwaldstrasse to the vicinity of Freiburg Airport. Because in SC Freiburg’s new home he can reach his seat without steps, having an excellent overview of the game. Stair-free access is important to Alexander because he uses a wheelchair.

Unobstructed view and under cover: In the past, SC fans, who had to use a wheelchair, were right behind the edge of the stadium…

Unobstructed view and under cover: In the past, SC fans, who were confined to a wheelchair, were positioned just beyond the stadium boundaries. In the new Europa-Park stadium you can go straight to the seats which have a good view of the stadium without steps. | Photo: Jürgen Rossler

In the past, in the playground on Dressam, the area was a lot narrower for wheelchair users – and it was wet when it rained. “She has a very good view and sits dry,” says Danny, who appreciates the new seating for people who rely on a wheelchair.

obvious improvement

Halfway up the levels, the rink passes through the stadium and there are now accessible places for the 144 wheelchair users. And – a big improvement too – there are now seating for escorts. This means that Danny can visit the stadium with her husband and son, which has not always worked in the past as things get tight sometimes during the big matches.

Last Saturday, on the SC’s home match against Borussia Monchengladbach, the SC organized a working day on the topic of inclusion. But does he need a day’s work, shouldn’t that be part of everyday life in the stadium? “Essentially yes,” says Tobias Rauber, who is responsible for social commitment at the Bundesliga club.

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The fact that there is such a situation shows that the detail-loving club is not only interested in the improved points score of the Bundesliga professionals, but also in social issues.

Blind journalists Mario Cuddle (left) and Michael Spatt comment in great detail on every situation in the match and from...

Blind journalists Mario Cuddle (left) and Michael Spatt comment in great detail on every situation in the game and from a fan’s perspective. | Photo: Jürgen Rossler

Radio Service for the Blind is touted by the DFL, but at the HC it is performed with both heart and soul. Mario Cuddle and Stefan Spatt describe every movement of the ball so visually impaired fans can also join in the action. “It’s a lot more than just sitting at home on the radio,” the two describe their show: “Even if you don’t see everything from the match, you can enjoy the atmosphere here, feel the energy on the field and have fun!” There is no regular radio so via the broadcast offer is also available outside the stadium.

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When it comes to wheelchair accessibility, SC Freiburg cannot necessarily be considered a pioneer here either, but while the gradual expansion of the old stadium was primarily about increasing capacity, the needs of people with disabilities can be taken into account in the new building from the outside. “They put in a lot of effort here,” Danny said, also praising the new environment, although she acknowledged that Dressame Stadium was certainly magical. “The issue was considered from the start,” Rauber asserts.

Sports shows for children and youth

At Breisgau, the commitment to inclusion goes beyond the stadium and match day, with exercise and sports offerings for children and youth with disabilities, for example. And soon you won’t need a working day to draw attention to the show – this is normal. “Because for us as a club,” Rauber knows, “such a Game Promotion Day is an excellent opportunity to test how we can better implement the topic of inclusion in Game Day operations and in our internal structures.”

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