A blind football project in Europe which received funding from UEFA has been hailed as a “success” by its organisers.
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football Development Project Europe ran from 2012 until the end of June this year.
Through its work, the scheme is thought to have helped established some type of blind football set-up up to 40 countries around the continent.
Figures released by IBSA state that 1,173 blind footballs, 908 sets of eyeshades and 88 black-out eyeshades have been donated to 39 countries.
A total of 80 referees from around Europe has also received training.
On top of this, the project helped with getting a qualifying competition for the IBSA European Championships Division One organised for the first time earlier this year.
“The IBSA Football Committee is looking back now on the conclusion of the UEFA-funded European Development Project,” the committee’s chairman Ulrich Pfisterer said.
“We have seen many new countries being introduced to blind football.
“We welcome UEFA’s engagement and hope for further projects in the future.”
Peter Gilliéron, UEFA’s Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee chairman, said football’s European governing body are delighted with the part they have played with the project.
“The objective of the UEFA Football for All Abilities portfolio is to help create more grassroots playing opportunities for different types of football, such as for people who are blind or partially sighted,” he said.
“UEFA believes that whoever wants to play football should have the opportunity to do so.
“As part of the Respect programme, it is with this goal in mind that UEFA supports IBSA and their football development project for the visually impaired.”