Press release from Scottish Deaf FA
“SCOTTISH NATIONAL DEAF FUTSAL SQUAD TO MAKE HISTORY IN FIRST EVER MAJOR TOURNAMENT
The Scottish National Deaf Futsal Team will make history when it competes in its first ever major tournament via qualification in Italy this month.
A squad of 10 players will face teams from The Netherlands, Sweden and Israel, in a gruelling schedule of six games over 11 days as they compete in the European Deaf Futsal Championships in Montesilvano, Italy.
The qualifying group stages in April saw Scotland narrowly lose to current World Champions Spain and draw against Bulgaria. However, the points they racked up and results from other groups resulted in them qualifying for the European tournament.
Taking place from 13-22 October, this is the Sixth European Deaf Futsal Championships, with Scotland facing Sweden in the opening match of the tournament. With 16 teams in the men’s championships, should Scotland make the top twelve they will secure their place in the World Championships, to be hosted in Brazil in November 2023. The squad, which has been training several times a month in preparation for the tournament, is made up of men between the ages of 24 and 38, all of whom are deaf or hard of hearing.
The trip to Italy will cost the Association £30,000. The team has received financial support from the Scottish FA and Scottish ParaFootball but still faces a deficit of around £10,000 and is appealing to the public to get behind their fundraising campaign to raise the remaining funds.
The Scottish Deaf Futsal Association (SDFA) was founded in 1889, making it the oldest deaf national sporting organisation in the World. The SDFA is a Game Leader of Scottish Para-Football, the Affiliated National Association and governing body of Para-Football in Scotland. In April, Scottish Para-Football was recognised for its achievements in progressing para-football when it was awarded the highly coveted UEFA Grassroots Gold Award for Best Disability Initiative.
Gordon Hay, President of the SDFA, expressed: “Qualifying for our first ever major tournament is testament to the commitment and ability of this squad and I’m confident we have the strongest team we’ve ever seen. We hope that competing at a major tournament will both showcase our talents and inspire new young players, who might otherwise be unaware of such deaf-specific tournaments, to get involved both nationally and internationally.
“The costs of sending a squad and officials to Italy is significant, and as the tournament approaches we still lack the essential funds to get them there. We would like to ask for the public to get behind the team by donating at our fundraising page.”
Ashley Reid, Chair of Scottish ParaFootball, commented: “This is an enormous achievement by the Scotland deaf futsal squad and we look forward to following their progress in Italy. Not only does qualifying for a major tournament put the spotlight on the deaf sporting community but it highlights the pioneering initiatives of organisations such as the SDFA and the opportunities that exist for those who require a parallel version of the beautiful game.”
People can donate to support the team at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/scotland-deaf-futsal-italy2022“