UEFA's support is helping futsal for the blind and partially sighted to develop.
With the UEFA European Futsal Championship beginning on Friday, UEFA's support is also helping futsal for the blind and partially sighted to continue its development.
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) – who were awarded UEFA's CHF1m charity cheque in 2006 – has joined forces with the Norwegian Football Association to hold international futsal development seminars for the blind and partially sighted. They will take place in Oslo from Thursday to Sunday.
Coaches and referees
Forty coaches and referees from Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands will gather for the seminars, which will be conducted by widely-experienced international coaches and referees from blind futsal.
The seminars will be held in the Ullevaal Stadion, Norway's national football stadium, before moving on to Oslo University for the practical sessions. Spanish international Carmelo Garrido will be on site to demonstrate his skills and abilities during the sessions.
The seminars are part of IBSA's Futsal Development Project Europe, made possible thanks to financial support from UEFA and aimed at further developing and spreading the game in Europe. Blind sports organisations, National Paralympic Committees and UEFA member associations from every European country will be given the opportunity to attend one of a series of seminars to be held in a variety of countries.
Blind futsal is split in two categories; B1 for totally blind players and B2/B3 for partially sighted players. The B1 category is a Paralympic sport and promises to be one of the most exciting competitions at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China.
The 6th IBSA B1 Futsal European Championships were held recently in Athens, Greece, and defending champions Spain came out on top, defeating Great Britain & Northern Ireland 5-0 in the final. Seven teams competed for the title, and both finalists secured qualification for Beijing 2008. The IBSA B2/B3 Futsal European Championships will take place in Ankara, Turkey, from 1 to 9 December. Ten teams, including reigning world and European champions Belarus, will take part.
Important for the future
"These seminars are very important for the future of the sport in Europe as we are taking the game to Scandinavia for the first time. This is a new part of the continent for us, and we hope blind and partially sighted players in the Nordic countries will soon enjoy more opportunities to play", said Mr Carlos Campos, chairman of the IBSA Futsal Subcommittee. "We would like to thank the Norwegian Football Association for its commitment to blind futsal and support in organising the event", he added.
For more information on futsal for the blind and partially sighted or IBSA, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.