AC Milan today announced the renewal of a partnership with the Milan Blind Insititute Foundation, the Italian Union for the Blind and the Visually Impaired and the National Institute of the Deaf. The aim is to create a Club that is increasingly inclusive, open and able to meet the needs and expectations of everyone. This is a commitment and an important element in the Club's strategy for social responsibility, which is one of AC Milan's core values.
This is thus a reinforcement of "AC Milan for all", which has seen the Club leading the way in social inclusion through concrete projects on and off the pitch, which have been recognised by UEFA as exemplary and used in their studies.
Starting with the stadium experience, which represents the ideal opportunity to embrace the entire Rossoneri family. Taking in a match at San Siro can generate pure passion, enthusiasm, sharing and unique emotions, which deserve to be experienced by everybody. In particular, for every home game, AC Milan guarantees an average of 250 free tickets for fans with disabilities and their carers. This is an experience made possible thanks to massive investments made since 2016 with the aim of increasing the number of dedicated sections, to improve their quality and offer a dedicated steward service. As part of "San Siro for all", the Club had created an exclusive pitchside section, dedicated to blind and visually impaired fans. This is all thanks to the work done in collaboration with the Milan Blind Insititute Foundation and the Italian Union for the Blind and the Visually Impaired. It's a new service involving the presence of two speakers, who - from the press box at the ground - recount every detail of a game at San Siro for every fan that requests the service. The commentary, thanks to a collaboration with Radio Rossonera, is transmitted to fans via a dedicated radio signal thanks to an audio device that is connected directly to the assigned seats.
Thanks to the digitalisation and modernisation of the Club, AC Milan can now bring the emotions and atmosphere of San Siro to anywhere in the world - even at home - via home devices and the Club's official digital channels (website and app). The Club's partnerships with Google and Alexa Amazon are heading in this direction too. These two systems allow access to a series of features that not only make the matches more intense but make the Rossoneri fans fully live their passion. As well as commentary of the game, we have news, podcasts, chants and much more.
Moreover, AC Milan guarantee the usability of digital content for deaf fans. Through an agreement with the National Institute of the Deaf, in fact, every week the most important videos and interviews are subtitled and translated into sign language. Furthermore, all of Mister Pioli's pre-match press conferences are broadcast live in sign language, the only Italian club to do so.
"Our fans are at the heart of everything that we do, without a doubt. Because AC Milan is for all. We are, therefore, proud to sign these two agreements today, which put the Club's commitment to inclusivity on full display - in line with our RespAct Manifesto," said AC Milan President Paolo Scaroni. "Together, we will make this Club ever more accessible through the identification of new initiatives and efficient solutions to guarantee accessibility for all fans. We will thus reinforce a best-case scenario, which sees us as the pioneers in this sector and puts us at the disposal of the entire Italian football system, in the hope that the whole sector might evolve and take that step forwards in terms of social inclusion."
The President of Milan Blind Insititute Foundation Rodolfo Masto said: "The signing of the statement of intentions between AC Milan and the Milan Blind Insititute Foundation reflects and strengthens the Rossoneri's work in bringing the magic of football to people with visual disabilities. For blind fans, being welcome with affection at San Siro, for big games, is a really encouraging sign."
President of the Lombardy Regional Council of the National Institute of the Deaf Renzo Corti said: "I'm extremely happy to announce the continuation of the partnership for the 2021/22 season too, as we keep up the subtitling of videos and translating Coach Pioli's pre-match press conferences into sign language. We've received a lot of praise from numerous deaf Rossoneri fans throughout Italy for the work we've done together until now. Many people have told us that a dream has finally come true: thanks to this service, deaf fans can feel a little more involved in the adventures of their favourite team, which has become accessible to them. As President I reiterate the motto: we are always with the deaf to ensure the right of all to fully access daily life in our country!"
The Club's commitment to projects and initiatives based around inclusion comes under AC Milan's wider RespAct Manifesto for social equity, equality and inclusivity, which was launched last year. It's a programme of initiatives that solidifies the Club's vision and commitment to share positive values in sport and to fighting against all forms of prejudice and discrimination, leveraging the Club's enormous potential to engage and emotionally connect with its supporters and stakeholders.