Background

Training camp and tournament for around 120 children and young people with disabilities

Around the globe, children and adults play football with each other. All over the world, thousands and thousands of fans cheer for their clubs. And countless boys and girls dream of seeing the inside of one of the big stadiums one day.

That is not surprising. Because football unites. Football stands for team spirit and fair play. Football creates joy and enthusiasm. In short: FOOTBALL IS MORE.

The sport breaks down linguistic, social and cultural barriers and brings people together regardless of age, gender, origin or any impairment. The positive characteristics of play, sport and movement can be perfectly applied and used to support social projects. Accordingly, football with its enormous power is ideally suited to sustainably improve the lives of children and young people. It, therefore, serves as a supporting element in achieving our goals.

The Special European Cup, the tournament for young people with mental and/or physical disabilities, takes place within the framework of an experiential football camp, the Special Adventure Camp, where inclusion and social participation are promoted through sport and play. The focus is on young people for whom adventure sports holidays are otherwise inaccessible or difficult to access. Through the power and diversity of sport, they are to be given the joy and fun of movement.

The football pitch as a model for everyday life

The Football for Inclusion event is intended to enable the participating athletes with and without disabilities to experience inclusion on and off the pitch for a week so that they can then carry these insights from the football pitch into everyday life. The aim is to show the public that inclusion is possible. And that sport can help.

Raising awareness among young people

During the project week, local football clubs will also be involved in raising awareness about inclusion. The U12/U13 juniors of these clubs are invited to the camp to play football together with the young people with disabilities. In this way, mutual understanding is promoted in a playful way. Inclusion is not only explained, but actively experienced.

In varied training sessions led by internationally recognised coaches, such as Andy Rose, Disability Inclusion Senior Officer Chelsea FC Foundation, the participants are offered ideal conditions to develop their football skills at a high level. But also off the football pitch, a special leisure programme of joint barbecues or swimming excursions awaits the teams.

The Special Need Teams are alongside the Special Guest Teams another essential brick to reinforce the social engagement of the cup. The teams get therefore chance to show their new learned skills under competition conditions during the match breaks of the U16 cup. While the youngsters play first and foremost for sporting success, the players of the Special Adventure Camp perform according to the motto „Winning is not everything“. Hence, compared to the usual hard fights in football, the matches of the Special Needs Teams will be characterised by fairness and friendship.