Support and development of football among players with disabilities

December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1992. On this day, the world community draws attention to the successes in building an inclusive environment, reminds us of tolerance, dignity, humanity and equal rights.

One of the sustainable development policies of the Ukrainian Football Association is the "Football for All" policy, which is implemented in cooperation with the Ukrainian Football Association of People with Disabilities and aims to support and develop professional football among players with disabilities, improve access to football infrastructure for fans with disabilities and conducting various trainings or involving referees and trainers to improve their skills and abilities. 

Photo of UAF press service

Despite constant shelling and the difficulty of organizing training and meetings, our national teams achieved high results this year: 

  • for the first time since the independence of Ukraine, the national Deaflympic team (players with hearing impairments) became the world champion;
  • for the first time, Ukrainian futsal players (athletes with visual impairments) won a gold medal at the World Blind Games;
  • Ukraine became the European football champion among athletes with cerebral palsy.

According to the Ministry of Social Policy (as of September 2023), during the year and a half of the full-scale invasion, the number of Ukrainians with disabilities increased by 300. Previously, 2,7 million people with disabilities lived in Ukraine, and now this figure has reached 3 million. 

Photo of UAF press service

Ukraine needs more and more rehabilitation specialists, more different centers and departments that would help our people to restore their functionality. After all, the number of people who are injured is increasing. That is why the Ukrainian Football Association, together with UAFLI and in cooperation with partners, supports and develops football among amputees. So, in June of this year on the basis of artificial fields of the Training and Training Complex named after V. Bannikov, free training sessions for amputees have begun, which anyone can join. In cooperation with FC Pokrova, men with amputated limbs living in Lviv and the region are involved in football and actively train. This year, our men's team took part in the qualifying tournament "League of Nations" in Belgium and will participate in the European Championship next year. 

Photo of UAF press service

Also, in partnership with the "Maximum" camp, football is being developed for women with amputated limbs. Our team has already participated in an international camp, where the girls learned from their colleagues from Poland. It is worth noting that Ukraine is the second country in Europe that has formed a women's football team (the first is Poland, the third is England).

Photo of UAF press service

Also, UAF constantly supports fans with disabilities. Thus, all matches of the national team of Ukraine are provided with audio descriptive commentary, and wheelchair users and persons with other types of disabilities are provided with free tickets to the matches of the country's main team on an ongoing basis.

An important direction is cooperation within the framework of the "Nation's Cup" tournament, which took place in October on the fields of the NTK named after V. Bannikova and whose partner was the Center of Complex Endoprosthetics, Osseointegration and Bionics.

The center deals with complex endoprosthetics using the principles of personalized medicine, and one of the key areas of its work is to help military personnel who have suffered serious injuries while defending our country from the Russian aggressor.

The charity fund "Only the strong" directly takes care of fundraising for soldiers' prosthetics, and the Ukrainian Football Association gladly supported and will continue to support all football projects, thanks to which funds are collected to help with military prosthetics. "The football community is honored to join in supporting and restoring our warriors. It is important for us to do everything in our power to give them back the opportunity to fully live and play sports," said First Vice-President of the UAF Vadym Kostyuchenko.

Photo of UAF press service

Another important initiative of the UAF is the start of cooperation with one of the military rehabilitation centers where our defenders undergo long-term treatment and rehabilitation. An agreement on such a partnership was reached in November during a meeting between Vadym Kostyuchenko and representatives of the rehabilitation center for military personnel at the Football House. In particular, during the meeting, it was discussed about assistance from the UAF in arranging a football training ground in the center, as well as about arranging such fields in three other rehabilitation centers for military personnel. Also, the UAF will provide the necessary football equipment and undertake the training of specialists so that they can conduct football classes, and in the future will organize competitions for military personnel undergoing rehabilitation in these centers. "Football has no limits and should be accessible to everyone. And in this difficult time for the country, it also performs an important unifying function, is an important tool of social support for all those who defend Ukraine or suffered as a result of hostilities. It is an honor for us to help soldiers and everyone who needs such support," Vadym Kostyuchenko emphasized.

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