Blind European Championships take shape at RNC

Former student and current England Blind Football player Dan English has just taken a penalty versus Turkey in a friendly match from March 2014. Other players from both teams and referees can be seen looking on as the Turkey goalkeeper dives to save the ball. The match ended with England winning 3-0

International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven MBE, who spoke to a television audience of millions at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics, will be at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC), Hereford on Friday 7 November to carry out the draw for the IBSA Blind Football European Championships 2015.

Representatives of the current England squad are eager to find out their competition in next year’s event, having beaten 2013’s European Champions Spain in a Four Nations tournament held at the College’s thePoint4 venue this spring. Spain has won the Championships seven times, with France twice crowned. With a new head coach in Jon Pugh and home advantage, could this be England’s chance to shine?

Tony Larkin, Director at RNC and former England Blind Football coach, Jeff Davis of the FA and Sir Philip will perform the live draw. The tournament also takes place at RNC in August next year, when the England team will require a top two finish in order to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

“The Euros are such a fantastic opportunity for England to benefit from home support,” said Tony Larkin. “The team trains regularly at thePoint4, RNC’s fully accessible sports centre, and hope that the crowds turn out again to cheer them on as they did for the 2010 World Cup.”

Immediately before the draw, the College will officially launch the UK’s first Sports Academy for people with visual impairments which offers a variety of sports to students, many of whom have never been involved in physical education at school. Sir Philip will be joined by Patron for the RNC Sports Academy Dave Clarke, former captain of England and Team GB Blind Football squads. Demonstrations of blind football, goalball and VI golf will be given by RNC students, confirming the Academy’s ambition as a national centre for sporting progression.

For further information about the Euros 2015 competition or the Sports Academy, please contact 01432 376 621 or email info@rnc.ac.uk

Article written by Anika Backhouse, PR, Publications & Outreach Officer at RNC