specialThe Special Olympics European Football Week with support from UEFA Respect is getting under way in Gibraltar from May 18th to May 26th 2013. More than 15 athletes from Special Olympics Gibraltar will participate in two events.

Anne Risso of Special Olympics Gibraltar explained that the week ‘aims to bring together the entire European Football community, in order to create more opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities in football.  Across Europe more than 50,000 athletes will participate in 400 events across 50 countries supported by UEFA and National Football Federations and Clubs.  37 National Football Federations and more than 60 Football Clubs across Europe including Global Football Team Ambassadors Celtic FC, Tottenham Hotspur and Serie A Inter Milan. Italian Serie A and B, Polish Extraklasa, Hungarian NB I - OTP Bank Liga, Duch Juplier League and Finish Veikkausliiga will also support European Football Week and hold clinics and training sessions for players with intellectual disabilities’.

The focus of European Football Week 2013 is to engage new grassroots partners such as local football clubs, community groups and local authorities, as well as ensuring competition for Special Olympics footballers of all ability levels. Unified Football® events will also take place giving footballers with and without intellectual disability to compete together on the same playing field.  UEFA’s Grassroots Day will be celebrated on May 22nd as part of European Football Week.

Gibraltar will host a triangle tournament , next Wednesday, which will see two teams made up of Special Olympics athletes play against a team made up of Ministers and Staff of No.6 Convent Place. There will also be a match held between the Special Olympics team and the GFA’s Under 16s team on Saturday 25th May.