A great day for the beautiful game
There is much debate about who coined the phrase the ‘beautiful game’ but everyone who has ever used it – from Pele to Platini – meant pretty much the same thing. Football is a game played by 300 million people across the globe, and enjoyed by millions more. It’s beautiful because it unites people. The teams, communities, and countries too.
The World Blind Football Championship – which kicks off this weekend – will, I hope, be one of the finest examples of the beautiful game. This weekend, ten teams made up of some superb blind footballers from around the globe will arrive in Hereford, ready to kick off the Blind World Cup – played this year in England for the first time in the tournament’s history. They all want to win, of course they do, but they also want to weave some magic on the pitch that will show you, and the rest of the country, that football is not something that just transcends age, social background, religion and race, but disabilities too.
We couldn’t have made this happen without the brilliant team who have pulled this all together. The FA and their tournament directors Logistique have worked tirelessly with the teams, officials, volunteers, tournament partners, legacy supporters, the local community and with The Royal National College for the Blind to create a world class venue for a world class event. It’s been four years in the making and it hasn’t been without its challenging moments. The most recent, of course, was the sad loss of Cameroon who had to drop out last week because of a visa problem beyond the FA’s control. But the organising team rallied, and so did Greece, stepping up to the post to create a strong alternative in their group and ensuring you, the supporters, won’t get anything less than the very best when you come to watch the games next week.
Thank you to everyone in Hereford who has helped us make this tournament something really special. It kicks off just after 2pm on Saturday with a player’s parade and an opening ceremony including the tournament song – aptly named Unite – followed by the first game of the World Cup between England and Spain. The lads know you’re right behind them…
If you haven’t bought your World Cup ticket yet you can buy one( £5 adult day pass, £2 concessions) at thePoint4 or by visiting www.blind2010.com. If you want tickets for one of the cultural events – including An Evening with footballing giants Sir Trevor Brooking and Ray Clemence at The Courtyard next Wednesday – call their box office on 01432 340555.
Posted by Tony Larkin on 09-08-2010