Blind football update from Belgium and Austria
Date: July 24, 2015
Blind football continues to develop and expand in many countries in Europe, including in Austria and Belgium.
Here’s a round-up of the latest news from the countries:
The Belgian national blind football team – the Red Wolves – are training hard for the IBSA Blind Football European Championships next month in Hereford, England. It will be the team’s first experience of Europeans and it couldn’t get much tougher for them as they face reigning European champions Spain in their opening match on Saturday 22 August 2015 at 17:30.
The Belgian teams played in the French league this season, but plans are in place to set up more teams with a view to creating a Belgian league. Ligue Handisport Francophone, the main driver behind the development of the game, reports that a new team is up and running in Liège and plans are afoot to set up a team in Mons.
Caption: Belgian national team celebrates winning the IBSA Euro Challenge Cup 2014 in Prague.
Blind football has grown quickly in the French-speaking part of the country so far, and an exhibition match is planned for Flanders, the Flemish-speaking north part of the country, following the European Championships to expand the sport and make it truly a nationwide game.
Austria is a new player on the European blind football scene. Its partially sighted team (B2-B3 category) made its international debut at the IBSA European Championships in Italy just last December. Despite losing all its matches the team caused a good impression and was awarded the Fair Play Trophy by popular demand.
Caption: the Austrian partially sighted team.
The Austrian team will make its international debut on home soil in October when they play host to three teams in a four-nation international tournament in Steinbrunn.
Organised by the Austrian Disability Sports Federation (ÖBSV), the event kicks off on October 28th and concludes on November 1st. Strong competition is guaranteed as England and Russia have already confirmed their participation, and the organisers are looking for a fourth team (national squad or club team) to complete the line-up.
Any teams interested in taking part in the tournament should contact Matias Costa at [email protected].
Austria recently moved into football for totally blind players (B1) and has set up a development programme that played host to Brazilian crack outfit ICB Bahia, who were on their way to the Bučovice Blind Football Cup 2015, LASS Budapest and AVOY MU Brno.
Caption: blind football training camp in Austria.
An Austrian coach will take part in the IBSA Blind Football European Youth Camp 2015 in Hamburg next week to work with and learn from other coaches, and the national team plans to begin playing in tournaments soon.
IBSA is assisting the Austrian programme thanks to its UEFA-funded Blind Football Development Project Europe, and arrangements for a training camp to be held early next year are being made.
For more information on the IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe contact [email protected].