St. George's Park all set for Cerebral Palsy World Championships
The scene is set at St. George’s Park as it prepares to play host to the Cerebral Palsy (CP) World Championships, which kick-off on Tuesday (16 June).
The 15-nation tournament – that also acts as a qualification mechanism for the 2016 Paralympic Games – is the biggest disability football tournament ever to be held in the UK.
As well as England, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the National Football Centre will host teams from North and South America, Asia and Oceania – and every game will take place on the grounds of the Burton site.
And St. George’s Park Managing Director, Julie Harrington, has spoken of her delight that it is taking place at the national football centre.
“I’m really excited about the tournament,” she said.
“It’s been a long time in the making and everyone here at St. George’s Park has worked tirelessly to ensure we make this event a huge success.
“The site looks fantastic and we’re really hopeful there’ll be a superb atmosphere, especially for the England games.
“Having everything together in one place with hotel accommodation, sports science facilities and top class pitches means each and every team will be raring to go once the action starts.”
It is not the first time England has hosted a disability tournament though.
In 2010, The FA hosted the Blind Football World Cup, while CP football proved popular at the London 2012 Paralympics, as fans packed the stands at the Riverbank Arena.
And Harrington says the CP World Championships at St. George’s Park are another wonderful chance to raise awareness of disability sport.
“The tournament also represents a unique opportunity to showcase disability football to a worldwide audience,” she added.
“We hope that everyone in England and across the globe will be able to see what you can achieve through disability football.”
England kick-off the tournament against Japan at 1pm on Tuesday 16 June.
The game takes place on Pitch 6 – the same surface used by the England senior team when they are in residence – and will be preceded by an opening ceremony.
At the draw back in March, England were paired alongside Japan, Ukraine and Iran in Group A.
England’s CP squad have gathered at St. George’s Park
The top two from each group proceed to the quarter-finals – and as well as earning a spot in the knock-out phase, it would also guarantee their place at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
However, on Friday, one of England’s three opponents – Iran – pulled out of the competition.
This means Tuesday’s opening match against Japan takes on added significance – as the winners will effectively secure their place in Brazil in one outing.
For more information about Cerebral Palsy Football and a full list of CP World Championship fixtures, please click here.
From The FA