Sunday 21st September will see Dumbarton Riverside hold their third annual Disability Football Festival.

Dumbarton Riverside ‘Champions’ are now a fully functioning team as part of the wider club. The club, who are part of the Dunbartonshire Football Development League, currently have a player roll of approximately 240 spread across ten age ranges.

As the team prepare to kick of their third season, the Disability Football Festival will be held at Goals, Great Western Road in Clydebank on Sunday 21st of September between 1.00pm and 4.30pm.

Alistair Bateman of the club said: “The day will be held in the format of a 5-a-side tournament in which every game will be refereed by a Scottish FA referee and every participant will receive a bespoke medal. Each game will last 10 minutes and teams will play a minimum of 7 games.”

Alistair, who won the West Dunbartonshire Sports Awards Community Coach of the Year in 2012 for his work with the club, added “With twenty four teams scheduled to participate in the festival, it will be a fantastic opportunity for those already involved in the sport to showcase their talents.”

The ‘Champions’ team comprises of adults with a range of disabilities such as cerebral palsy and down syndrome. The team has a strong nucleus of almost 30 players who regularly train irrespective of the weather conditions.

At present, ‘Champions’ is a team focusing mainly on adults, however once a solid foundation has been established it may be rolled out to younger ages. Alistair explained “Due to the rise in popularity of disability football, there is also the possibility of a National League being created. Held between Edinburgh and Glasgow. The idea is that any such league would take place between every six to eight weeks until the end of June.”

Like any other sports club, they rely on funds to survive and to continue promoting the sport. On the 13th of September, the club will get together with West Dunbartonshire Sports Club and Sporting Judo Club ALBA (SJCA) to take part in a ‘Wheelchair Challenge’. The challenge will see each club use a wheelchair to cover 12km in order to raise awareness of disability sports in West Dunbartonshire and funds for their respective clubs.

The club’s progression has seen them awarded both Disability Club and Quality Mark status by the Scottish FA. In addition, to have met all the criteria for the Quality Mark award, three coaches have undertaken disability education courses. Over the past couple of seasons, Riverside’s continued drive and commitment from players, coaches and volunteers alike have ensured that regardless of their ability, everyone has the opportunity to play the beautiful game.