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Unified Football Development Project

Posted on 24 October 2008  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur Foundation coaches were on hand as Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) launched the Youth Unified Football Development Project in partnership with The Vodafone Foundation.

Unified Football Development Project

Tottenham Hotspur Foundation coaches were on hand as Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) launched the Youth Unified Football Development Project in partnership with The Vodafone Foundation.

This groundbreaking football programme has been designed to break down the social barriers between young British athletes with learning disabilities and those without, by bringing them together on the same team.

The launch in London saw a Special Olympics Unified team from Merseyside play against the All Parliamentary Football squad beating them 6-5 . Ex-Premier League official Dermot Gallagher refereed the match, the first of its kind in Britain.

Before the game kicked-off, the players were taken through a warm-up session by coaches from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation's successful disability sports programme.

The match was overseen by former Southampton and Northern Ireland manager Lawrie McMenemy MBE, who is Chairman of SOGB. He was supported by Sir Matthew Pinsent, The Vodafone Foundation Sports Advisor and SOGB Ambassadors England's Ladies Football Head Coach, Hope Powell and NBA star, John Amaechi and six times World Canoe Champion, Anna Hemmings.

Lawrie McMenemy said: "Projects like this show the power that team spirit can have in not only building friendships, but also in reducing discrimination and creating a positive opportunity for young people. By getting these youngsters to train and compete together we hope to encourage greater understanding, respect and acceptance of learning disabilities."

Sir Matthew Pinsent, The Vodafone Foundation Sports Advisor commented: "Sport is a universal language and something all people can enjoy. The Youth Unified Football Development Project is a great example of sport overcoming barriers. I hope today's unified match will be the first of many with The Vodafone Foundation's support."