With football fans counting down the days to kick-off at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Special Olympics is also gearing up for a week-long celebration of the beautiful game. From May 25 to 2 June, Special Olympics Football Week will see hundreds of events take place across the Europe Eurasia region, with 40,000 players lacing up their boots to take part in events.
As the push for greater involvement and support for women in sport gathers pace all over the world, the FIFA World Cup in France will be a major highlight this summer. And Special Olympics is also prioritizing its efforts to get more girls involved in sports, like football, in 2019 and beyond. With the support of the European Union, twenty European countries are taking part in Special Olympics’ ‘Keep Up With the Girls’ campaign.
The project aims to get almost 5,000 new female players with intellectual disabilities training, playing and competing in football by the end of 2019. The project will also focus on recruiting and training more football coaches to further develop the women’s game. There will also be a pan-regional social media campaign activated across all participating countries to ensure that the Special Olympics message of inclusion and equality for all is greatly amplified.
Now in its 19thyear, European Football Week, which is supported by UEFA and the European Football for Development Network (EFDN), has helped to establish football as one of the most popular sports in the diverse and vast Europe Eurasia region. Close to 140,000 players are registered, representing athletes both with and without intellectual disabilities. This year our events will focus on the importance of leading a healthy an active life drawing on the Special Olympics Fit 5 guide and the European Commission’s #BeActive campaign.