Football and disability, the presentation of a memorandum of understanding between the FIGC and the Italian Paralympic CommitteeThe FIGC becomes the first federation in the world to set up its own Division for Paralympic and Experimental Football. Gravina: “Football is a united sport and the world of disability must be a part of it”
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Football can and should be used as a tool for inclusion, and the FIGC is at the forefront of promoting and encouraging the growth of football for people with disabilities. This morning, in the Council Chamber in via Allegri, the Italian Football Federation presented their signed memorandum of understanding with the Italian Paralympic Committee (CIP), an agreement aimed at maximising the development potential of the game of football for those with disabilities. The press conference was attended by FIGC President Gabriele Gravina, CIP President Luca Pancalli, the Secretary General of the FIGC Marco Brunelli and the President of Fispes Sandrino Porru.
The FIGC, which has created an ad hoc Division, will now be authorised to organise experimental football activities in addition to those regulated by the international bodies that oversee the footballing activities of people with physical, mental and sensory disabilities.
“We are the first federation in the world to open a Division of this type,” stressed Gravina. “President Pancalli has given me a beautiful gift. It is one of the most beautiful aspects of game, which focuses on emotions, the desire of athletes to compete and a celebration of the great sacrifices of the families of these athletes. The world of football has a duty to enhance all of this.”
After specifying that the Division will have its own autonomy and operational structure, the federal president recalled what has been done for the Italian Paralympic movement by its founder, Franco Carraro, expressing his hopes that the former CONI and FIGC president can be involved in the project and have a role in the new Division. Gravina added: “It is a process that started a long time ago, the sensitivity that has gradually developed within the Football Federation, the activities carried out with the Leagues in recent years and the readiness shown by President Pancalli. Thanks to the agreement signed in 2017 with the CSI, the 'Fourth Category' tournament for athletes with cognitive-relational disabilities was launched, and the positive experience gained has convinced us to take this further step, even further increasing our collaboration with the CIP. Football is a united sport and the world of disability must be a part of it with the same dignity: ours is a clear message, and today that message has officially been put down in writing.”
CIP President and former FIGC Extraordinary Commissioner Luca Pancalli pointed out that today was an historic day for the federation: “The home of Italian football has opened itself up even more to those who play football with disabilities. We all wear the same shirt when we step out onto the pitch and I’m convinced that good results will come from this new path undertaken today. The aim of this Protocol is to bring together the great family of Italian football which, thanks to the work done so far by the Paralympic Federations and Promotional Bodies, can boast numerous projects already throughout the country and thousands of athletes with disabilities playing this sport. Football remains one of this country’s great passions. The beauty of this sport is also in knowing how to speak to people’s hearts, like through the stories of our champions. Today we are taking the first step of a small revolution that we hope will help the Paralympic movement and all of Italian sport to keep on growing.”