It's a development initiative which takes place throughout Europe with over 40 countries promoting and hosting opportunities to increase participation in football for people with a learning disability.
European Football week is one of the highlights of Special Olympics year-round event calendar and aims to increase the number of players across Europe to 50,000 by the end of 2005.
During the week’s events in Great Britain over 1,700 athletes across the country will take part in many planned events including a “Football United” event to be held in Islington, London on April 28 which will bring together FITC (Football in the Community Coaches) from six of London’s top clubs including us in a day of coaching.
Kathryn Robinson, Director of community Development for Tottenham Hotspur commented: “We’re delighted to be supporting this event as part our commitment to increase access to and participation in football and multi sports activities for young people and adults with disabilities. Increasing playing and competitive opportunities for people with learning disabilities is one of the key objectives for our thriving Community programme. European Football week shows that football is for all and I’m sure it will be a massive success.”
Chris Hooper, CEO SOGB, said: “We are about diversity, both on and off the playing field, and we need to raise awareness of Special Olympics if we are to become more widely accepted as a leading provider to people with learning disabilities. Therefore, we are extremely grateful to Tottenham Hotspur for their support and involvement with Special Olympics, particularly during our football week but also with other initiatives throughout the year. We have already seen a fantastic growth in the number of players from the start of the initiative here in Great Britain from 543 in 2001 to 1030 at the end of 2004. The high profile support they give to Special Olympics means we can recruit more athletes and volunteers on whom we rely to maintain our organisation."
Special Olympics was founded by the sister of John F Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968, and is based on the belief that the Olympic ideals of sport can give confidence to people with learning disabilities of all ages; as well as for those who care for them. Now embracing 153 countries, Special Olympics reach more than one million athletes at a local level.
Following football week, Special Olympics Great Britain’s National Summer Games will be held from 1-9 July 2005 in Glasgow. It will bring together 2,800 athletes in a week of sporting achievement to compete in a wide range of sports including football, swimming, athletics, kayaking, sailing golf and judo.
For further information on Special Olympics, please go to: www.specialolympicsgb.org
We also donated a signed shirt that raised £250 in auction for SOGB.
Our pictures show Head Coach Martin Jol with, top, from left - Chris Hooper, Barry Lee, Stan Wozniak, Wendy Hoyte, Michael Perry, Bill Elliot, Simon Warden, Maurice Elliot, Bob Billson.
Bottom, from left - Simon Warden, Stan Wozniak, Barry Lee and Michael Perry.
The club is delighted to support Special Olympics European Football week.