The Scottish FA has launched a new Para-Football strategy, “PlayAbility… Our Game is the Same”, designed to create greater opportunities for participants of all abilities across the nation to reach their full potential.
The Para-Football strategy replaces the Scottish FA’s previous disability strategy and focuses on five pillars: Participating in the Game; Supporting Coaches; Competing on the International Stage; Opportunities to Compete; and Leading the Game.
Through these five pillars, the strategy will create a player-focused environment that will allow participants to enjoy Scotland’s national game.
To achieve its goals, the strategy sets a number of ambitious targets, including the creation of a Para-Football Scottish National Association.
The new strategy will run until 2022 and aims to build on the success of the previous five-year strategy, which included:
- Increasing the number of people with a disability playing football within Scotland from 1000 to 7000.
- The creation and development of a Scottish FA Para-Football Inclusive Award and Club Award, which have subsequently been achieved by more than 200 clubs across the country.
- Increased competitive opportunities, including the creation of leagues such as the Powerchair National League, Deaf Futsal National League and Mental Health and Wellbeing National League.
- Improved participation opportunities through the creation of Frame Football and Amputee Football clubs and through the support of the Football Memories Alzheimer’s Programme.
- An increase in coach education participants from 50 in 2011 to 660 in 2016.
Para-Football in Scotland encompasses a variety of forms, with each individual or Para-Football group playing differing forms of the game.
There are a large variety of forms of football available in Scotland through the strategy, such as Frame Football, for players who require the use of a frame or walker for mobility, Powerchair Football, for players who require the use of a motorised wheelchair, and Blind Football, which is played with a rattle ball to aid the blind players competing.
The term ‘Para-Football’ indicates a form of football played parallel to the mainstream game and is now preferred to Disability Football so as to remove the negative connotations associated with disabilities.
Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell said: “Football is a powerful force for good and the first ever para-football strategy for Scotland will ensure everyone the opportunity to participate in our national game and fulfil their potential.
“I welcome the Scottish FA’s vision and leadership on this important issue. It will also lead to the creation of a national affiliated football association for para-football - believed to be the first in the world - which will give disabled people a voice at the highest levels of Scottish football.”
Andy Gould, Head of Football Development at the Scottish FA said: “Football is a unifying cause and one that the Scottish FA strongly believes should be available to everyone across the country, regardless of their ability.
“This new strategy builds on the tremendous foundations laid through the previous strategy, which has resulted in some remarkable and awe-inspiring success stories.
“The ambitious targets set out in the Para-Football strategy will create unprecedented opportunities for Para-Football players eager to participate in our national game.”
Click here to view the new Para-Football strategy, “PlayAbility… Our Game is the Same".