Press Release

For Immediate Release

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT VOTES TO PROVIDE SPECIAL OLYMPICS EUROPE/EURASIA WITH SIX MILLION EURO FUNDING FROM EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Funding to support development of Special Olympics across EU member states and hosting of 2010 European Games and 2011 World Summer Games

Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE) has received a significant boost to its efforts in bettering the life of people with intellectual disabilities through sport, on the adoption of the European Union’s general budget for 2010.

Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia will receive funding of six million (equivalent to $8.55 million US dollars) Euro in 2010. The much needed financial support will go towards the development of Special Olympics across the 27 EU Member States as well as assisting with the hosting of the 2010 Special Olympics European Games to be held in Warsaw, Poland and the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games taking place in Athens, Greece.

According to Mary Davis, Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia: “We are delighted to receive this vital funding from the European Commission. Special Olympics happens every day with free sports training and competitions provided to our athletes. EU funding will allow us to empower through sports, more and more people with intellectual disabilities across Europe, while also changing attitudes, fostering community building and creating a more inclusive and accepting world for all of us.

“I believe we are entering into an exciting new phase for sport in Europe. The European Union (EU) is clearly recognising the important role sport plays in education, culture, social cohesion and public health within our European society” continued Mary Davis.

Sidonia Elżbieta JĘDRZEJEWSKA (EPP; PL) said:
“I am glad that the European Parliament has officially recognised the need to support Special Olympics. I hope that today’s decision will help spread the message that Special Olympics provides great opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities all over Europe. We need to enable more and more people to benefit from the good work of Special Olympics.”

Georgios Stavrakakis MEP (S&D; GR) said:
“I am convinced that today’s decision will give athletes across Europe the opportunity to reach their full potential and break down stereotypes. Special Olympics need the support of our society to continue touching upon the lives of those who need it even beyond the Warsaw European Games in 2010 and the Athens World Games in 2011”.

Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia operates across 58 countries in Europe and Central Asia providing year-round sports training and competitions to half a million athletes. The 2010 Special Olympics European Games will take place in Warsaw, Poland from 18th to 24th of September when 1,600 athletes from across the region will compete in the largest sporting event in Europe for people with intellectual disabilities.

Taking place from 24th June to 4th of July 2011, the thirteenth Special Olympics World Summer Games (Athens 2011) will draw 7,000 athletes from 180 countries from around the world, 3,000 coaches and officials, 25,000 volunteers, 40,000 family members, as well as thousands of spectators who will celebrate the spirit and courage of Special Olympics athletes.

Both the European Games and the World Summer Games will be heralded by a Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run® across the region promoting awareness for the movement. SOEE also runs a number of initiatives such as Unified Sports®, Healthy Athletes®, Family Support Network and Global Football to promote the rights and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.

ENDS

Contact:
Maureen Rabbitt
Communications Director, SOEE
T: +353 1 6755715 / +353 87 786 6001
E:
mrabbitt@specialolympics.org