By Duncan Mackay

British disablity football celebrate UK sport awardMay 17 - UK Sport have awarded £1.3 million ($1.8 million/€1.5 million) to the England blind squad and GB Disability Football Association to help them prepare for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

The announcement came just before England were due to play Germany in a friendly at St. George's Park at Burton upon Trent, a game which marks Graham Keeley's debut as the squad's new head coach.

"The FA has been funding blind football for over a decade so this extra money is a fantastic boost for the sport as it means that our players can now access regular training camps with an overall aim of winning medals at international tournaments," said The Football Association's head of disability football, Jeff Davis.

"We're massively grateful to UK Sport as they've given us a wonderful opportunity to implement a world-class training programme for our visually impaired footballers which is vital if we're to compete against the likes of Brazil, France and Spain on the sport's biggest stages such as the 2016 Paralympics in Rio."

Britain's blind team finished seventh at London 2012, the same position as the cerebral palsy team in the seven-a-side tournament.

"UK Sport is investing record funds in British athletes' preparations for the next summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, thanks to The National Lottery and Government support," said Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport. 

"The ambition is to win more medals in Rio than were won in London and we're delighted to support the GB Blind Football squad, as part of our World Class Performance Programme on the road to Rio, with an investment of £1.3 million."