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Date set for UK’s biggest deaf friendly football competition

Posted Feb 23 2011 6:05pm

A tournament celebrating deaf-accessible football will arrive in Derby next month as the city plays host to the UK’s biggest competition for deaf friendly youth teams on Sunday 27th March.

Organisers, the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), are expecting up to 30 five-a-side teams from across the UK to enter. Youth teams interested in taking part can sign up now, the only requirement is that three or more of their players are deaf.

Hayley Jarvis, NDCS Inclusive Activities Manager, said: “There is a severe lack of accessible football activity for deaf young people across the UK: only 83 of out of 120,000 teams are registered as deaf friendly. This tournament celebrates the clubs and the coaches who have taken the simple steps to become accessible to deaf young people.

“Involving deaf children in football is great for their confidence and social skills. We want to make sure that deaf young people have the same opportunities to take part in sports as any other children. Clubs that would like to find out about taking part in the tournament or making their teams deaf friendly can contact us for advice,” said Ms Jarvis.

The tournament is part of the NDCS’ Deaf Friendly Football Project, which encourages junior football clubs of all sizes to open up their teams to deaf players. Deaf children are often excluded from mainstream sports activities because clubs fail to consider their needs and find out how they could make their club accessible. For deaf children, the communication barrier can make football clubs intimidating environments, denying them the same opportunities as other children to take part.

The tournament will take place at the Derby Powerleague Soccerdome in Derwent Parade and is now open for entries. Interested teams can email football@ndcs.org.uk or visit www.ndcs.org.uk/football for details.

NDCS has been working with clubs all over the UK to teach them the simple steps they can take to make their clubs accessible and encourage local deaf children to join. Big name clubs such as Everton, Manchester City and Arsenal have signed up to the NDCS’ Deaf Friendly Football Club Pledge, alongside small, local clubs.

The NDCS Deaf Friendly FC Project was set up in 2007 with the help of a grant from the UK’s largest sports charity, the Football Foundation (FF). An additional grant of £129,623 has been awarded by the FF, and the Football Association has also provided £10,000 towards continuing the project in 2010-2011.

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