The FA will host the European Learning Disability Championships this summer.
This summer between 20 July - 2 August, The FA will host the 2008 European Learning Disability Championship in the North West of England, with the final at Oldham Athletic's Boundary Park.
The captain of the England team is 26 year old Ronnie Watson. A painter and decorator, he was a trainee at Spurs for six years, playing alongside Ledley King, Peter Crouch and Colchester United's Jonny Jackson.
In 2002, Ronnie was part of Lyndon Lynch's side who beat Holland 2-1 in the Learning Disability World Cup Final in Yokohama in front of over 25,000 spectators.
England, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Portugal, Hungary and Poland will be drawn into two groups of four, with England's first group game to be played at Sport City on Sunday 20 July. Hyde United, Curzon Ashton, Springhill (Rochdale) and Stalybridge Celtic will also host fixtures during the tournament.
Alan Gillett has just been appointed as the new Manager of the England Learning Disability team.
This is the latest role in his career which has taken in Wimbledon, Crystal Palace, Watford, Plymouth and Japan, as well as the national sides of Yemen, Malawi and the Soloman Islands. Since 2005 he's been The FA's Regional Coach in the South West.
Over the next five months, The FA will be working with the North West County FA's and the five participating clubs to give local youngsters and volunteers a chance to get involved in a variety of capacities during the tournament.
The Regard Partnership are sponsoring the tournament, with Mencap, Link4Life, Salford Community Leisure and Manchester City Council also involved.
The FA now fund seven national squads - LD, Blind, CP's, Amputees, Partially Sighted and two Deaf Futsal squad, one mens, one women's - and have over 50 pan-disability football clubs across the country.
With the senior England team missing out on the UEFA 2008 European Championship in Austria and Switzerland, this tournament will provide football fans with a chance to cheer on a Three Lions side on home soil, with tickets set at just £2 for adults and £1 for concessions.
Players must have the following to be eligible for the tournament:
- Significant impairment in intellectual functioning as indicated by a full scale IQ score of 75 or lower.
- Significant limitations in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. Limitations in adaptive behaviour affect both daily life and the ability to respond to life changes and environmental demands. Examples of these skills include: communication, self-care, self-direction, and social/interpersonal skills.
- Intellectual disability must be evident during the developmental period, which is from conception to 18 years of age.
Did you know?
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- 200 babies are born with a learning disability every week.
What causes learning disability?
- There are many different causes of learning disability.
- Often it is not possible to say why someone has a learning disability. But most learning disabilities are caused by the way the brain develops – before, during or soon after birth.