Saturday's home game against SC Freiburg witnessed the first ever inclusion day. Under the banner of ''Borussia unites'', a coalition made up of BVB fan representatives, the ''leuchte auf'' foundation and the BVB fan department organised a variety of inclusion-related initiatives to tie in with the match.
The objective of the inclusion day was to draw attention to the vitally important topic that is ''inclusion.'' The club wanted to raise public awareness and demonstrate how seriously it takes this issue.
The entire matchday was organised in the spirit of inclusion, so it was only fitting that the BVB-TV Matchday magazine and the club's membership magazine dedicated their matchday build-up to this topic. In this week's episode of the Matchday magazine there were no first team players in the studio, instead the guests were the head of inclusive sports at the club, Hasan Caglikalp, and Conny Dietz, a member of the club's goalball team. As for the membership magazine, there was a comprehensive report focusing on the goalball team as well as on further opportunities at Borussia Dortmund for people with disabilities. In addition, the BVB website added a new section this weekend called ''free from barriers'', which provides content in ''simple language.''
On the day of the match itself there were several initiatives, both large-scale and small-scale, which were designed to highlight opportunities available for people with disabilities. Before the match started, there were several interviews conducted with Nobby and ''Fanomenal'' which set the tone for the day's topical focus. There were also several relevant videos shown on the large screens in the stadium, such as footage of the blind and goalball teams in action as well as videos on sign language. All of these videos are available to watch on BVB-TV as of Monday.
Inclusiveness was also brought to the fore when it came to the mascots. An equal number of children with and without disabilities had the honour of walking out onto the pitch alongside their idols. Special thanks have to be given to the SIGNAL IDUNA group for the direct support they gave to the day of inclusion by foregoing their usual allocation and equipping of mascots. We would also like to give our thanks to Special Olympics North Rhine-Westphalia. This charitable association assists the BVB foundation ''leuchte auf'' in its project ''mascots with disabilities.'' Special Olympics have played a key role in the project by regularly inviting children with disabilities to be BVB mascots. This has meant that at every BVB home match for the past few years at least two children with disabilities have been able to cherish the unforgettable experience of being a mascot at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK.
During the day of the match against Freiburg, several athletes from the Special Olympics Association of North Rhine-Westphalia were granted a special behind the scenes look at Borussia Dortmund. They provided assistance to the team of volunteers working in the wheelchair area as well as those involved in the centre circle display. One athlete was even able to join the filming crew of the ''Fanomenal'' video series for the day.
The day of inclusion was further supported by other initiatives, such as a redesign of the corner flags and mascots' t-shirts as well as a raffle for tickets organised with the ''Ruhrnachrichten'' newspaper. We would like to thank all of those who gave us their support and we hope that we were able to communicate the importance of ''inclusion'' to a large part of our fanbase.