UEFA EURO 2012 – blind Polish footballers display their skills at quarter final match
Date: June 29, 2012
Ahead of the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final between Germany and Greece in Gdansk, Poland, a five-a-side game for blind and partially-sighted footballers from the Polish CROSS association was staged as one of the showcase games under the Respect Inclusion project.
For the last two years CROSS has been engaged in developing blind futsal in Poland. There are currently two teams – one in Wroclaw and another in Chorzow – and plans are afoot to set up three more teams in the country.
UEFA's Respect Inclusion campaign received distinguished support in the shape of Andrzej Szarmach, the former Polish international striker who won a silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Games and helped Poland to third place at the FIFA World Cups in 1974 and 1982.
"Many thanks to UEFA, which allowed these athletes to play in such wonderful stadiums at such a special time like the quarter-final of the European Championship," he said. "Let's give these guys a chance to fulfil their dreams," added Szarmach. "It's very important to show supporters and athletes alike that disabled people can participate in sports activities and be a part of football just like anyone else. By showcasing and celebrating disabled athletes, they become a part of EURO 2012."
"We are at the heart of the biggest sports event in Europe," said Joanna Mucha, Poland's sports minister. "These emotions and the great atmosphere affect everyone. Everyone knows that sport integrates. When I was a teenager I worked as a volunteer with people with disabilities. Now I support athletes who impress with passion and devotion."
Wroclaw and Chorzow took to the pitch just minutes before the quarter final and drew 2-2 in the match in front of thousands of fans. For more information click on the links below: