The Special Olympics European 11-a-side Football Cup was held this month in Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany. Special Olympics Austria and Special Olympics Switzerland jointly hosted the Cup, working in cooperation with Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia and in partnership with Special Olympics Liechtenstein and Special Olympics Germany to capture the excitement and passion of football for players with intellectual [learning] disabilities.
Twenty four teams from 24 countries competed in matches that were held around Lake Constance in the cities of St. Gallen and Wil (Switzerland), Bregenz, Schwarzenberg, and Bludenz (Austria) and Lindau (Germany), and Vaduz and Eachen (Liechtenstein).
The Special Olympics European Football Cup is considered the highlight event of the eighth annual Special Olympics European Football Week that was held throughout Europe and Eurasia at the same time and involved 50,000 players.
Through its football activities, Special Olympics has been able to create one of the largest promotions for the movement, using football as an effective means to instill the values of acceptance, dignity, skill and inclusion to communities all over the world.
The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation was invited out to the event to see how a Special Olympics competition is undertaken and delivered.
Our coaches gained some first-hand experience of the programme on an international level and a clear understanding of the competition structure.
The visit also allowed us to explore how Special Olympics and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation can work together and learn from each other.
Special Olympics, founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is the world's largest year-round programme of sports training and competitions for individuals with intellectual [learning] disabilities. More than 2.25 million athletes in over 160 countries train and compete in 30 Olympic-style summer and winter sports at local, national and international events. Through its sports programs, Special Olympics strives to provide long-term benefits to individuals' health, self-esteem and social integration.
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