Football will look to keep the Paralympic flame burning when The FA Disability Cup launches this weekend.
Both the Blind and Cerebral Palsy formats of the game raised the profile of Paralympic football last summer with Channel Four covering GB games live at London 2012 while GB Blind Squad skipper, David Clarke, carried the torch at the opening ceremony.
The FA Disability Cup is a brand new 11-a-side men’s competition with clubs competing from across the country in Northern and Southern sections.
The section winners will face each other in the final at St. George’s Park on Sunday 12 May, just 24 hours after The FA Cup with Budweiser Final at Wembley Stadium.
Jeff Davis, The FA’s Head of Disability Football, said: “The FA Disability Cup allows pan-disability teams from different regions to participate on an 11-a-side basis against each other in a national competition for the very first time.
“We’re viewing this season’s FA Disability Cup as a pilot year for the competition with an overall aim of raising the profile of disability football and increasing participation across the country.
“We didn’t win any medals for football at London 2012 but the impact that disability football made has been enormous.
“Not only did we get extra funding granted by UK Sport and but we also raised awareness that people with disabilities can play football and that there’s plenty of opportunity out there, via your local County FA, to get involved.”
This season’s FA Disability Cup clubs are:
Communication Specialist College Doncaster; Derby County; Able Too United; Boro Rangers; Boston United Positive Pilgrims and Sheffield Wednesday Ability Counts FC.
Exeter City Ability Counts; Healthy4Life FC; Plymouth Argyle; Albion in the Community and AFC Bournemouth Ability Counts.
This Sunday’s Northern Section First Round will see CSC Doncaster v Boston United Positive Pilgrims and Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday while the Southern Section has Exeter City Ability Counts hosting AFC Bournemouth Ability Counts.