2015 Euros come to RNC
We are excited to announce that The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) has been confirmed as host of the IBSA Blind Football European Championships 2015, kicking off in August.
Ten teams from across the continent will converge on Hereford’s fully accessible sports centre, thePoint4; part of RNC’s campus facilities. It was one of the training bases for blind football teams during the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the England team regularly trains on the specialist pitch.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for England to benefit from home advantage to qualify for Rio,” said Tony Larkin, RNC Director and former Great Britain Head Coach. “The 3G pitch, which I believe provides a better playing experience for blind footballers, will also benefit England compared to the 4G surface most of our competitors are used to.”
RNC successfully held the IBSA Blind Football World Championships in 2010. As a centre of sporting expertise, coupled with a strong educational reputation, make the College a major draw for students targeting a career in sport, as well as those participating at grassroots level.
England finished eighth at the 2013 European Championships in Italy but must finish in the top two this time around in order to qualify for the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016. The challenge is huge, but the team’s current form has been positive, most recently finishing runners-up to reigning World Champions Brazil in a Quad Nations tournament held at RNC earlier this summer.
Dave Clarke, former captain and England’s longest serving blind footballer, who visited RNC in March as guest speaker for the Your Futures Fair, said: “The 2015 Euros in Hereford is a great opportunity to raise the profile of blind football in the UK. We played to a packed crowd in London and this is another great chance to watch a world class sporting event in the UK. I hope the England supporters get behind their team.”
The draw for the IBSA Blind Football European Championships 2015 will take place on 7 November 2014 at the Hereford venue, doing the honours for the draw will be President of the International Paralympic Committee Sir Philip Craven, who closed the 2012 Paralympics.
More event information can be found at www.ibsasport.org
Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC