Global goal to kick start blind football with exchange project

Blind football players in training (Credit: Jonathan Pugh/The FA)

Blind football has scored a significant boost after it emerged a global partnership to develop the sport has been rubber-stamped by four key players in the international game.

The project – proposed by TASS in partnership with the Football Association – will support the worldwide exchange of coaches, volunteers and managers.

And the European Commission has backed the programme to the tune of €100,000 after recognising the benefits to visually impaired footballers across the board.

TASS and the FA will work alongside partners in Brazil, the Netherlands and Ireland to exchange expertise and upskill key figures in the blind football game.

Five people from each of the three European partners will head to South America later this year in order to kick off a mutually beneficial discussion around the development of the sport.

And that visit will precede representatives from Brazil, the Netherlands and Ireland arriving in the UK to witness the domestic game in action and join a European-wide discussion around blind football.

“We’re delighted that our proposal has been backed by the European Commission and it’s fantastic to be working in partnership with the FA to coordinate this exciting initiative,” said Guy Taylor, National Director, TASS.

“We know how important it is to develop our practitioners and broaden their skillset by providing unique learning opportunities.

“By giving 20 individuals the chance to take part in the exchange, we’re not only funding the practitioners’ own development but supporting scores of others by sharing best practice across our network.

“We hope that through this project, TASS and the other partners can make a real difference in helping more visually impaired athletes to participate in blind football.”

Joining TASS and the FA in promoting blind football throughout 2019 will be Dutch partners Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and Gehandicaptensport NL, Irish partners Coach Ireland and the Football Association of Ireland and Brazil’s Confederação Brasileira de Desportos de Deficientes Visuais.

The UK will play host to a conference (open to interested parties across Europe) looking at the learnings of the exchange and the overall support packages available to blind footballers globally.

The coordination and delivery of the year-long project will be the responsibility of the UK partners TASS and the FA.

The England blind football squad in train (Credit: Jonathan Pugh/The FA)