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Talking about inclusion in football – what’s the score?

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Sport can be a used in a way to both divide and unite people.

Because whilst rivalries and passions can create divides in society, among families and friends even, sport also has the power to bring people together and make the world more inclusive.

For example, the FA recently launched its We only do positive” strategic campaign, which is encouraging respect throughout football, and is part of The FA’s wider programme called Respect.

We only do positive highlights the importance of positive behaviour and environments for young footballers involved in mini-soccer and youth football.

In a nutshell, it aims to educate coaches and parents about their roles in creating a fun, safe and inclusive environment, on and off the pitch.

We only do inclusion?

It’s great to see The FA working hard in this area to use sport as way to make a more inclusive society.

And they also run other excellent campaigns as part of the Respect programme, such as those that promote a strict zero tolerance for racism.

But wouldn’t it be brilliant if there was a “We only do inclusion” campaign as well?

Such a campaign could promote a more inclusive experience for people with disabilities and their families/friends, both at football stadiums and online.

And it could also promote a more inclusive experience for fans who don’t speak English as their first language.

It’s worth considering that around 20% of people in the UK have a disability, and 10% of people don’t speak English as their first language.

So it makes a lot of sense to ensure these groups are fairly included in the world of sport.

Digital inclusion matters

For an inclusive campaign in football to be effective it must cover the digital world, as well as the physical one.

This means ensuring that websites are accessible, so that people with disabilities, and those who speak English as a first language, can do what they need to do online.

For example, can they use their favourite football club’s website to: buy a shirt, buy a match-ticket, check the fixture list, read the latest club news, etc?

If they can’t, the evidence shows that it’s basically a case of the football club pouring money down the drain.

But football clubs can avoid this by adding Recite Me’s accessibility and language toolbar to their website.

The toolbar can be added to any website to help people disabilities, and those who don’t speak English as their first language, to use any website the way that suits them best.

Ultimately, it’s a simple solution to help fans win and make football more inclusive.

100’s of organisations including St Johnstone Football Club use Recite Me to make their websites accessible for people who have disabilities – call 0191 4328092 to find out more or book your free demo now. Be sure to also try out our website accessibility scanner.

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