Para Football welcomes the FAI to the Affiliate FA network

Para Football welcomes the FAI to the Affiliate FA network

  • 22 March 2022

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) becomes the latest National Football Association to join the Para Football Affiliate FA network. The FAI’s Football For All programme has as its central aim the delivery of football opportunities to people who may not ordinarily get a chance to play the ‘beautiful game’.

The FAI recognises that some people or communities start from a disadvantaged position and may need assistance from the Association to access all opportunities that exist in football.

Para Football Affiliate FA

Para Football works in partnership with FAs worldwide. These collaborations are focused on a shared vision and passion for ensuring every person with a disability can participate in football on an equal basis with others.

Affiliate FA's benefit from unique networking opportunities, increased visibility of their work on a global level, new funding streams, and strategic partnerships.

As a Para Football affiliate, FAs can contribute to the promotion and development of the participation of persons with disabilities in football while also benefiting from the knowledge and experience of our network.

About the FAIĀ 

The FAI’s Football For All (FFA) programme was established in 2002 to promote inclusion in Irish Football communities. The integration of the Football For All programme into the infrastructure of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has been an outstanding success. Through the introduction of the Football For All programme there has been a large increase in the participation of people with disabilities within association football.

Key achievements:

The Football Association was the first Sports Governing Body in Ireland to appoint a National Coordinator with this remit and the programme has been a huge success. Many agencies and groups recognise how football can contribute to the quality of life to so many thousands of Irish people.

The FAI now has two full-time staff with responsibility for facilitating a clear pathway to cater for players with various disabilities from club to country where abilities allow.

The Football for All programme is made up of players from all groups and sporting bodies that cater for people with a disability who want to play football. At the moment they have approximately 3,800 players participating in all of their programmes. The FAI in the past 4 years has established a number of associations to govern particular programmes within Football For All, these are Blind Football Ireland (BFI), Association of Irish Powerchair Football (AIPF) and Irish Amputee Football Association (IAFA). All three independently govern their specific football game across Ireland providing the pathway for their members from grassroots to international where possible.

In 2010 the FAI Football For All programme established a network of Football For All Clubs through their existing community clubs across Ireland. These clubs provide opportunities for children with specific needs and may struggle to excel in the competitive environment of underage football or who need additional supports to develop as footballers to join the club, train and compete at FAI FFA club festivals.

Coach education plays a key role in the development of FFA players and in the insurance that clubs and coaches have the confidence and passion to be inclusive and provide opportunities for all children and adults in Ireland to access football at suitable levels.

To find out more about the Football Association of Ireland and their Football For All programme, please click here

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