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Rome hosts 11th European Football Conference

The Special Olympics European Football Conference took place between October 5th and 7th involving 46 participants from 29 countries.

29 Countries Represented

A total of forty six participants from twenty nine (29) countries took part in this year's Football Conference. Special guests of the Conference included: William Gaillard (UEFA) Michel Sablon (Belgian FA & UEFA),  Gianni Rivera (FIGC & SO Italy Ambassador) Maurizio Beretta (Serie A President), Andrea Abodi (Serie B president), Piara Power (FARE) and football managers from 7 Football Federations  - Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Iceland, Switzerland, Turkey and Italy. The conference took place at the CONI center “Giulio Onesti” in Rome as part of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Football Development Project supported by UEFA.

The conference discussed several issues including co-operation with Football Associations, coaching players with intellectual disabilities and creating more opportunities for players with intellectual disabilities at all ability levels through expansion of grassroots football, U12 football and Unified Football.


2013 - 2014 Projects

Several new initiatives for 2013 - 2014 were agreed. These included: Under 12 football project; three 7-a-side football invitational tournaments to be held in Georgia (May 2013), Sweden (July 2013) and in Belarus (Sept 2013); 11-a-side Unified Football event in Poland as qualification for Special Olympics Unified Cup in Brazil; Programmes for European Football Week (18-26 May 2013); and overview of Football at 2014 Special Olympics European Games in Antwerp.

Appreciation Awards

(l-r) Gianni Riviera, Italian Football Federation, Mirek Krogulec, Special Olympics Europe, William Gaillard, UEFA.

Four National Football Associations, Belgium, Denmark, Italy and Turkey, received an award of appreciation from Special Olympics in recognition of their outstanding work with Special Olympics in their own country.

UEFA Support

(l-r) Mirek Krogulec, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, Jorgen Kjeldergaard, Special Olympics Denmark, Tina Enstrom, Danish Football Federation, William Gaillard, UEFA.

Special Olympics Europe Eurasia is a core partner of UEFA Football and Social Responsibility for 2012-17 under the "football for all abilities” domain.  The partnership will continue to develop grassroots opportunities for Special Olympics athletes.

William Gaillard, from UEFA:
"Special Olympics is part of the UEFA family. The process is often more important than the result, and it is in fact what Special Olympics can teach football today."