FA to expand opportunities for disabled footballers


The governing body of English football has published plans to create hundreds of new disability football teams over the next two years.

The proposals are part of the FA’s new disability football strategy for 2010-2012, which it published this week.

The strategy says the FA will set up 140 new male and 150 new female disability teams by 2012, to add to the existing 400 male and 26 female teams.

And there should be 34 new disability county leagues by 2012, on top of the existing 14.

The FA will also develop a network of full-time county disability football officers to develop disability football, increase participation, raise coaching and playing standards, and develop local clubs and competitions.

And it will train 50 new disabled referees over two years, and ensure that 10 per cent of young people selected for an FA young coaches programme are disabled, while all “skill tests” for five to 11-year-olds will be “inclusive”.

The strategy also pledges that the FA will continue to support six elite national disability football squads: for players who are amputees, Deaf, blind, partially-sighted, have cerebral palsy and have learning difficulties.

The FA’s goal is for each team to be ranked in the top four in Europe.

Lord Triesman, the FA’s chairman, said: “Disabled sport needs to be in a position to reap the maximum benefits from the exposure that it will receive from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“This strategy aims to put disability football into such a position.”

The strategy was launched at the draw for the IBSA Blind World Football Championships, which will take place at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford from 14-22 August.

14 April 2010

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