Integrated Dreams was yet again promoting disability inclusion on football this year at the World Football Summit Europe.
The Summit took place in Seville, September 20-21, and provided several opportunities to bring access and inclusion to the conversation.
Integrated Dreams presented for the second time the “Football Without Limits” Award to this year’s winner Scottish Para-Football for its work in the development of playing opportunities for disabled and elderly people in Scotland across 10 disciplines. Congrats as well to all who applied and to the other finalists Access Earth and Kateryna Biloruska in particular. This award will be renamed from 2024 “Eli A. Wolff Football Without Limits” Award in tribute to the disability rights advocate and co-founding member of the Disability in Football Alliance, Eli A. Wolff.
Following Integrated Dreams’ suggestion, the WFS agreed to add a panel on “Disability and Football: Play, Access and Governance” to the event. Moderated by our own Director of Operations, Joana Cal, speakers Ashley Reid (Scottish Para-Football CEO), Giovanni Sacripante (Italian FA Head of Paralympic and Experimental Department), Hala Ousta (FIFA Senior Diversity and Accessibility Manager) and Stuart Sharp (Sr. Director Technical & Grassroots, Extended National Teams Department, US Soccer) discussed strategies for development of playing opportunities and improved accessibility for disabled athletes, fans and professionals. Different governing models were also discussed as options to navigate the complex landscape of multiple disciplines, established actors and diverse socio-economic and geographic realities within the industry. The full discussion is available here.
The Summit proved once again as a valuable opportunity to advocate for disability inclusion in all aspects of the conversation and with the event organisers – the World Football Summit included for the first time disabled people in its volunteer workforce and the Integrated Dreams Community’s presence is ever growing with several alumni and partners present including the Centre for Access to Football in Europe, Access Earth, Real Bétis Balompié and a member of the Association, Sudarshan Gopaladesikan (Head of Data Science at Atalanta BC).
We are already looking forward to the 2024 Edition!