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UEFA Grassroots Award for Polish women's amputee team

The creation of Europe's first female amputee football team secures the 2022/23 Best Disability Initiative award.

UEFA Grassroots Award - Best Disability Initiative

Launched in 2022 by the Amp Futbol Polska organisation with support from the Polish Football Association (PZPN), the women’s amputee football team currently has 17 players and train at monthly two-day camps.

Goalkeepers on the team have one arm and on-field players have one leg. It is the first all-female team of its kind in Europe, following the successful introduction of amputee football in Poland.

The team has already attracted media interest around the country, promoting disability sport and the belief that the beautiful game is for everyone, regardless of age, background or ability.

In March, Amp Futbol Polska organised and hosted the first-ever international women’s amputee football event, with international players joining their Polish counterparts at the training camp.

Zvonimir Boban, UEFA technical director & chief of football:

"Every player we see on our screens in UEFA competitions began their journey on a local pitch with friends or family.

"The elite game relies on a strong grassroots base, and that is why it is imperative that we celebrate the lesser-known stars who are bringing the game to people of all ages and abilities across Europe.

"We look forward to announcing the winners this week and congratulate them all on their fantastic work."

Winner's words – Mateusz Widłak, CEO, Amp Futbol Polska:

"Sometimes, the way people with disabilities are presented is that they need help, but when we are showing the same people with disabilities in a football context it's more about respect and about them becoming heroes. Our women’s amputee team can change the perception of people with disabilities. But, also, how people with disabilities are looking at themselves. This project is good for the players, as well as people in society.

"For some of the women in our team it was some kind of secret that they were an amputee. This is the first time that they are showing themselves in public without one leg. We didn’t know if it would only be one training session and then it would end, but it was something good, something really nice for us, but also for the players. They wanted to train more and more, so now it's growing. From what the players have told me, they have said it is a huge positive change to the way they see themselves.

"We want to make it bigger, and we want to start the same idea in different countries in Europe. We are happy to share our ideas with other countries."

Europe's first all-female amputee football team
Europe's first all-female amputee football teamUEFA via Getty Images

Best Disability Initiative 2022/23: Bronze and Silver winners

Silver: Football For All – Ibbenbürener Kickers (Germany) 

This club was founded in 2019 and consists of both disabled and non-disabled players. Its basic principle is the inclusion of players of all genders and ages. Three years after its foundation, the club has nearly 100 regular players.

Bronze: Margam Stags Youth Club (Wales) 

This club is a mini-community dedicated to people with a wide range of disabilities. Several parents, some of whom have disabilities themselves, volunteer with the children as coaches. This guarantees a safe, respectful and supportive environment for participants and coaches.

About the UEFA Grassroots Awards

The UEFA Grassroots Awards have been celebrating outstanding contributions and achievements in the game since 2010. Focused on football outside the elite game, the awards turn the floodlights on some of the unsung heroes and inspiring initiatives that make football such a vital part of communities throughout Europe.

Candidates are nominated by Europe's national football associations, with award winners selected by UEFA's Development and Technical Assistance committee following recommendations made by the organisation's Grassroots Panel.

The criteria for Best Disability Initiative looks for programmes delivering outstanding grassroots work with a positive social impact, contributing to the growth of disability football.