Recreational turn-up-and-play centres
For some players, affiliated football isn't an option because of the lack of desire, time, ability – or simply because they don’t want to play competitive football. County FAs delivered over 200 recreation centres throughout the 2018-19 season, which are designed to cater for both adults and children and allow players to play football in an organised but informal way.
For more information about centres in your area, please contact your local County FA, details of which can be seen here.
Pan-disability leagues and teams
There are now over 2,200 affiliated disability teams that mainly play across the 36 county pan-disability football leagues within England.
These teams and leagues form the foundation of the disability player pathway and provide an environment in which players can play competitively on a regular basis.
In many cases, these county-based leagues have been established and supported by County FAs who deliver in partnership with a range of organisations to ensure that provision is both standardised and sustained.
County leagues develop provision for a range of players playing pan-disability football: adult male; adult female; U16 mixed; U14 mixed; U12 mixed and more recently younger age groups such as U8 mixed.
The format varies but typically it will be either five, seven or nine-a-side with fixtures taking place monthly at a central venue throughout the football season.
County leagues work with County FAs to ‘sign post’ players that have the ability to participate in mainstream activity to the appropriate playing opportunities, allowing the leagues to focus their efforts on providing opportunities for players whose disability prevents them from achieving their potential in mainstream football.
The leagues adopt the principle of ‘ability banding’ where there are enough participating teams and clear differences in the ability level of players.
Premier League level: players participating at this level are able to cope physically, have good levels of spatial awareness, excellent ability to understand tactics and good levels of physical strength and fitness.
Championship level: players participating at this level are mobile, have spatial and tactical awareness, knowledge of the laws of the game and have a good level of fitness.
League level: players participating at this level have limited mobility, spatial awareness and fitness.
For more information about teams and leagues in your area, please contact your local County FA, details of which can be seen here.
The FA People’s Cup
The FA People’s Cup sits at the top of the pan-disability football pathway, with a range of disability specific competitions included across a range of age groups and ability bands. The disability competitions within the People’s Cup are run in conjunction with the local county leagues, who oversee the delivery of local heats prior to regional and national finals.
For more information visit The FA People’s Cup section of the website.