Opportunities for children with disabilities to play football are growing rapidly. Clubs catering for children with either specific disabilities or all disabilities (pan-disability) are developing across Wales offering opportunities for children to play regardless of their ability level.
The Welsh Football Trust is committed to developing a grassroots structure that provides local, regional and national playing opportunities for players with a disability. Alongside this, providing coaches with disability-specific education arms them with the tools they need to provide inclusive football.
Disability football is endorsed and promoted by both FIFA and UEFA who, with the help of international disability sports organisations, organise European and World championships for children with specific impairments, including learning disabilities, partial sight, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, amputees and wheelchair users.
Some of these competitions use standard football rules while others have adapted rules and regulations to suit the disability. The contrast in styles means disability football provides a unique and wonderful spectacle.
Pan disability or specific disability?
The Welsh Football Trust is developing a Pan-disability structure in Wales. Our pan-disability approach will lead to clubs and competitions where players with differient disabilities take part in the same games and training sessions in an inclusive environment.
The WFT has helped the development of 24 pan-disability football clubs in Wales, providing playing opportunities for under-16 players to take part in football outside of school.
These clubs are committed to achieving the quality standards set out in the FAW club accreditation scheme to provide a safe and well-structured environment for players with a disability.
Several regional festival leagues are being developed with the area associations to provide clubs with opportunities to play games on regular basis. An annual national club festival also provides clubs with the opportunity to play other teams from across Wales.