Rio Ferdinand Shows Support to Deaf Football Competition
Wed 1st Feb 2012 | Marketing & PR
England’s biggest deaf friendly football competition breaks down barriers for deaf children.
Deaf young people from across England will be putting their football skills to the test at the National Deaf Youth Football Tournament. The biggest annual tournament for deaf football clubs and deaf friendly football clubs takes place on Sunday 4 March in Liverpool and on Sunday 18 March in Reading.
Hundreds of deaf young footballers will enter the tournament, organised by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), the charity for deaf children and young people. Teams can be made up of deaf and hearing children as long as three or more players are deaf.
The tournament takes place as NDCS celebrates the major milestone of 100 football clubs in England to signing up to the NDCS Deaf-Friendly Football Club (FC) pledge.
NDCS has been working with clubs all over the UK, including Norwich City FC, which was the first club in England to join the project in April 2007. Manchester United and Arsenal have also signed up to the project and are looking forward to competing at the Tournaments. Now 100 clubs have signed the pledge to increase playing, coaching and socialising opportunities for deaf children and young people.
Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United and England International, said: “It’s fantastic to know that 100 Clubs have now signed the Deaf-Friendly Football Club Pledge. Just because you are deaf doesn’t mean you should be denied the right to play football. All children deserve the chance to play football and enjoy sport and at Manchester United we’re really proud of the fact that our Foundation has a Deaf Friendly team playing in a mainstream league. With the support of so many Clubs, hopefully we can encourage even more deaf children to take up the game.”
Deaf children are often excluded from mainstream sports activities because clubs fail to consider their needs and find out how they could make their club accessible. For deaf children, the communication barrier can make football clubs intimidating environments, denying them the same opportunities as other children to take part.
NDCS Hayley Jarvis, NDCS Inclusive Activities Manager, said: “This tournament is a great way for us to celebrate the success that the clubs and the coaches have reached in making our beautiful game accessible to deaf children.
“The Deaf-Friendly FC project has created unique opportunities for more than 1,000 deaf children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy football. The milestone we have reached is a great success, but there is still a long way to go – only 100 out of 120,000 teams are registered as deaf friendly. “
Victoria Wenman, GB Deaf Ladies Footballer, said: “The National Youth Deaf Football Tournament is a brilliant event for deaf young people. It is fantastic to see the continued growth of deaf-friendly football. It was only through playing with my deaf team that I really thrived as a confident player. My coach knew how to communicate with me whereas in other teams I’d played in, communication had been an issue. It is so important that deaf young people have the same access to sport as other young people.”
The NDCS Deaf Friendly FC Project was set up in 2007 with the help of a grant from the UK’s largest sports charity, the Football Foundation (FF). An additional grant of £129,623 has been awarded by the FF, and the Football Association has also provided £10,000 towards continuing the project in 2010-2011.
The tournaments will take place at two locations at the Goals Soccer Centre in Reading and in Liverpool. Teams which would like to send their entries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ndcs.org.uk/football for details.
Author: Aaron Gourley
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