Blind football programme kicking off in Sheffield

17 March 2022

The Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA have launched a series of blind football sessions to promote inclusiveness in football for players with visual impairments, starting this Saturday. 

The B1 project is in partnership with Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme, Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Yorkshire Sport Foundation and Sheffield City Council. 

Julie Callaghan, the organiser of this programme said: “Within Yorkshire, as far as I’m aware, there’s no blind football opportunity. The programme will give children and adults a chance to play football in a safe environment with blind-typed activities where they will feel safe.”

The sessions will run from March to July at Tapton Secondary School, where it has full accessibility to blind and visually impaired students.

Tapton Secondary School, where the programme will be held.

Qualified coaches from Sheffield Wednesday will lead the sessions after having undergone a training session last Saturday with Adam Bendell, an FA England B1 coach. 

Sean Graves, the inclusion officer of Sheffield Wednesday, who will be delivering the sessions said: “We would like to grow the game and knowledge of the sessions so that more people will come and attend and be inclusive to all.”

The programme is an FA initiative which is linked to the England talent pathway and potential players will have a chance to showcase their skills on a Talent ID Day in May.

Ms Callaghan said she hoped to get talented participants to turn up, and direct them to the national teams. She said: “It’s not just about playing for England, but also to give them an opportunity to be the best they can be.”

In blind football, players are required to wear blindfolds and footballs include bells to allow players to locate its position. Coaches have to constantly communicate and give guides to the players on field.

Communication and trust are crucial in blind football yet coaches have to be sensitive and require some time to get footballers to trust them. 

Ms Callaghan said: “It is a strange experience for people who can see, so we need some time to work on getting the players confident with putting blindfolds on.”

Written by Helen Hui

My name is Helen (she/her), and I am an aspiring journalist in the University of Sheffield who was born and raised in Hong Kong. As an ethnic minority I want to raise awareness of underrepresented groups in our society and reveal social injustice. One of my greatest goals is to travel around to explore what is happening in different countries. Often the news we see only covers a small fraction of our world, which leads to misunderstanding, prejudice and stereotypes. I would like to share my experiences and provide a brand-new point of view of this world we live in. Besides, I am fond of pop cultures, such as current beauty trends, music and celebrities. I am also a big fan of photography, film especially.

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Written by Helen Hui

My name is Helen (she/her), and I am an aspiring journalist in the University of Sheffield who was born and raised in Hong Kong. As an ethnic minority I want to raise awareness of underrepresented groups in our society and reveal social injustice. One of my greatest goals is to travel around to explore what is happening in different countries. Often the news we see only covers a small fraction of our world, which leads to misunderstanding, prejudice and stereotypes. I would like to share my experiences and provide a brand-new point of view of this world we live in. Besides, I am fond of pop cultures, such as current beauty trends, music and celebrities. I am also a big fan of photography, film especially.
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