Coleman supports campaign to support Special Olympics athletes
Special Olympics Europe Eurasia has launched #FacesofFootball, a unique digital activity hub and campaign to encourage footballers with intellectual disabilities to stay active and engaged in the face of evolving Covid-19 restrictions.
Unprecedented engagement of athletes from across Europe has enabled nearly 1,000 participants from over 40 countries to register and train – including Special Olympics GB!
Today marks the first day of European Special Olympics Football Week 2020 # EFW2020.
Now in its 20th year, European Football Week is typically celebrated in May. Each year, 40,000 participants in 50 countries participate in hundreds of events. However, as with everything else this year, European Football Week 2020 is far from usual.
This year it went live in the form of #FacesofFootball, a pioneering new digital hub for footballers with and without intellectual disabilities across Europe, their coaches and supporters.
The campaign caught the attention of Everton and Ireland captain Seamus Coleman, who threw his weight behind it.
“Faces of Football gives football players with and without intellectual disabilities across Europe the opportunity to come together, train and compete in the game they love without ever leaving their own home or garden.
“Everyone is welcome and everyone is included. Even though we are not physically together on the pitch or in the stadium, for me this is the perfect example of the inclusive power of sport. “
The sense of isolation felt by many as countries closed earlier this year is nothing new for people with intellectual disabilities.
Marginalization and exclusion are common experiences with which many live on a daily basis. However, Covid-19 and the restrictions that accompany it have exacerbated those feelings and brought with them worrying new challenges for Special Olympics athletes – many of whom live in already vulnerable situations.
The new #FacesofFootball campaign addresses these challenges head-on and uses digital technology to enable athletes to continue to train, compete and, most importantly, stay in touch with other players, coaches and supporters, regardless of the restrictions in place.
- Anyone can register, generate a unique football card and support by clicking here