The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) have staged their inaugural blind football European youth camp in Hamburg,, held as part of a five-year development programme funded by UEFA.
The event was organised by the IBSA Blind Football Committee in partnership with German club FC St Pauli Blindenfussball and was attended by players and coaches from Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria and Georgia.
It involved training sessions, headed by German national coach and IBSA Blind Football Committee chairman Ulrich Pfisterer, where players picked up a variety of skills, including communications and tactics.
The attendees, some of whom have only been playing blind football for a short amount of time, also improved their ball skills and their ability to deal with certain in-game situations.
“We at FC St Pauli Blindenfussball are proud to be the host for the first European blind football youth camp,” FC St Pauli Blindenfussball team leader Wolf Schmidt said.
“It was a fantastic experience for the young players and for the coaches, to feel how passion for football can break barriers, no matter if these are barriers because of different languages, or eyesight, or even both.
“Football has a strong power to break down or overcome barriers together in a team."
Schmidt added: “It was just a weekend, but you can feel the passionate impulse for starting an international network which helps to develop blind football as a competitive sport for the youngest players.
“We’re looking forward for the first European blind football matches for young players.”
The staging of the first-ever European youth camp comes ahead of the IBSA Blind Football European Championships, due to take place in Hereford, England, from August 22 to 29.
The event at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) offers teams the chance to earn qualification for next year's Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, with the top two sides guaranteeing themselves a spot in Brazil.
It features 10 teams for the first time, including reigning champions Spain and hosts England, and tickets are still available here, with the IBSA recently announcing a four for the price of three offer.
August 2015: Tickets for 2015 IBSA Blind Football European Championships to remain at early-bird prices
June 2015: IBSA Blind Football training course held in Helsinki
December 2014: Tickets on sale for 2015 IBSA Blind Football European Championships
November 2014: Draw made for 2015 IBSA Blind Football European Championships
September 2014: 2015 IBSA Blind Football European Championships awarded to Hereford