The IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe has announced a full roster of six teams for the 2nd IBSA Euro Challenge Cup 2016.
Albania, Belarus, Georgia, Hungary, Moldova and Romania are set to meet in Thessaloniki, Greece, from May 4th to 8th for three days of competition in the Challenge Cup, with the draw for the group stage of the tournament scheduled to be announced next week.
The Challenge Cup is a development tournament for emerging national blind football teams in Europe. It is run as part of the IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe thanks to annual financial support from UEFA.
Caption: Moldova vs Romania at the 1st IBSA Euro Challenge Cup 2014.
The event will be held in parallel with the Thessaloniki International Blind Football Tournament 2016, which will bring together top teams, including some nations that have qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
A spokesperson for the Development Project Europe highlighted the importance of the tournament, stating that “this is the showcase event for 2016 in our development project. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the teams to come together and compete, some of them for the very first time, and to become part of the international blind football movement.”
“It’s also important because the players and staff have the chance to get to know people from the other countries and to network, and on this occasion the tournament has the added advantage of taking place at the same venue as the Thessaloniki tournament, so everyone will enjoy the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top players and teams.”
“We invited other new countries such as Ireland, Sweden and Finland to participate, but unfortunately for various reasons they were unable to come, so we hope to see them soon also at international competitions. We’ve been supporting development efforts in all the countries through the IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe
and it’s great to see the work bearing fruit and more nations emerging and playing internationally.”
“Of course the tournament wouldn’t be possible without the backing we have from UEFA, so we’d like to acknowledge their ongoing support for blind football and thank them for that.”
Caption: UEFA Respect logo.
The 2nd IBSA Euro Challenge Cup 2016 follows on from the highly successful first edition in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2014, where Belgium ran out winners. Belgium and fellow participants Poland went on to play in the IBSA Blind Football European Championships last year in England.
IBSA would also like to acknowledge support from our sponsor, Goalfix
, which is donating a number of protective eyeshades for use during the tournament.
Caption: Goalfix logo.