The IFF and Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia have agreed upon initial cooperation with the aim to create greater opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities in Floorball in Europe and beyond.
The IFF ParaFloorball Function was established by the IFF Central Board in December 2010 with the aim to coordinate and support the different versions of Floorball being played by disabled persons.
The IFF aims to strengthen the ties between the 52 IFF member associations and Special Olympics national programmes; promoting the Special Olympics movement amongst its fan base as well as providing opportunities for SO athletes at significant IFF events such as for example the IFF 2011 World Championships in St Gallen, Switzerland next December.
– We are delighted to get behind the Special Olympics movement and play our part in promoting respect, acceptance and inclusion for more people with intellectual disabilities, says Mr. Tomas Eriksson, President of the IFF.
– This is a very exciting time for the IFF as floorball is gaining huge popularity across Europe, Asia and the United States. As we grow we want Special Olympics Floorball to grow with us.
Special Olympics Floorball is played in 15 countries. The first Special Olympics European Floorball Championship was held in Austria in 2010 with 10 teams competing from seven countries.
– Special Olympics warmly welcomes this commitment from the IFF, says Mrs. Mary Davis, Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia.
– We are very excited about the new opportunities that will arise from stronger relationships between our national programmes and IFF member states. I have no doubt that more lives will be changed, more doors will be opened and more perceptions of people with intellectual disabilities will be changed as more and more witness the courage and abilities or our Special Olympics athletes.
Floorball is just one of 31 Olympic-type winter and summer sports of which SOEE offers year-round training and competitions. With the idea to expand beyond its reach of 500,000 athletes in Europe and Eurasia, SOEE has signed protocols of agreement with major sports organisations including FIBA Europe, UEFA, Tottenham Hotspur (English Premier League Club), the European Tenpin Bowling Federation, European Gymnastics Federation, European Athletics and Lique Europeenne de Natation.
Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia is supported by the European Union.
For more information on Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia visit www.specialolympics-eu.org
About Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia(SOEE)
Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE) works with half a million athletes in 58 countries across Europe and Eurasia (Easter Europe and Central Asia), providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Worldwide the movement serves 3.1 million athletes with intellectual disabilities across 175 countries. Special Olympics and Paralympics are two separate organizations recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Special Olympics provides sports opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ability levels. Paralympics provides opportunities for elite-level athletes with disabilities.