UEFA's annual charity cheque is helping the 2007 recipients, the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association, develop seven-a-side football for athletes with cerebral palsy.
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UEFA's social heart will help the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) – awarded UEFA's CHF 1m charity cheque in 2007 – to stage a European seven-a-side championship in Glasgow, Scotland, in August.
The CPISRA was founded in 1978 to support athletes with cerebral palsy and related neurological conditions, and give them an opportunity to participate in sports. UEFA's sponsorship has helped the CPISRA to develop seven-a-side football in parts of Europe that did not previously play the sport, as well as enhancing coaching, educational and promotional materials. A DVD was put together to promote the seven-a-side game across the continent, and the body held an international championship in the Dutch city of Arnhem in 2009.
The association has its own version of football, a modified seven-a-side game that has been played by athletes with cerebral palsy for many years. Participants have the chance to take part in local, regional, national and international competitions. The CPISRA believes that UEFA's assistance is greatly improving the opportunities for people with cerebral palsy to play football. "We would like to thank UEFA for its generous support," said CPISRA president Alan Dickson. "This backing greatly enhances the development of seven-a-side football."
The participants play with athletes of similar abilities, practise team and individual football skills, have a chance to compete, learn strategy and improve their health. The pinnacle of the CPISRA competition calendar is the Paralympic Games, which take place every four years.
The 2010 CPISRA Football 7-a-side European Championships will feature one invited team, Australia, together with Denmark, England, Finland, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Russia, Scotland, Spain and Ukraine.