The World Amputee Football Federation
The World Amputee Football Federation
The World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) supports the development of amputee football around the globe. The organisation’s role is to provide accessible opportunities for those with an amputation or limb deficiency to participate in the sport at both grassroots and elite levels.
WAFF works closely with our member nations, alongside our confederation governing bodies, and currently has 67 nations playing the sport of amputee football around the world, across five geographical areas.
The inclusion of persons with disabilities is natural for WAFF due to the organisation’s values and mission, in which equal and inclusive opportunities are embedded within all of the organisation’s programmes and partner work.
The main challenge around including persons within disability sport is accessibility and perception.
We overcome these challenges by working to ensure anyone with an amputation or limb deficiency has accessible opportunities that are also equal to those within mainstream environments, providing a quality assurance around the delivery of all of WAFF’s programmes. This, in turn, provides WAFF with the opportunity to raise awareness of amputee football, increasing and improving perception of those with a disability participating within sport.
We believe the level of awareness within community settings for persons with a disability is crucial, ensuring they are aware of all the opportunities they have to participate. The awareness comes through the information and resources provided, and the key is understanding the person and providing them with the relevant information. It is important to find the balance by ensuring the person is aware of the opportunity, but equally important is presenting the opportunity in sport to ensure its reflective of the reality of participating.
Working with amputees
It is important that you understand the individual and find out their ambitions, goals and aims. Once this is understood you can find the relevant opportunity that aligns with their short, medium and long term engagement.
Providing an inclusive opportunity to a person with a disability can be extremely powerful, and, in turn, often empowers that individual to further explore and get involved in future opportunities, particularly within a community and grassroots setting.
It is also imperative to create an environment that is suitable to accommodate the needs of disabled persons, but also to provide equal treatment to all participants within that sports environment. Treat each person uniquely, not differently.
The disability sports scene
The disability sports scene has improved over the last ten years, but we believe it will always be a topic where more than can be done to change perception through education. The encouragement will come through raising awareness, educating and challenging those who exclude those with an impairment.
In ten years, we will look back and see the huge distance travelled within inclusivity in sport, and also within society. This has developed phenomenally in the recent years and will continue to transcend.
We believe in focusing on educating rather than policies, because once you educate communities to understand the importance and also the impact persons with a disability can have, this will change society.
With continued efforts at awareness raising and mainstreaming, amputee football and disability sport will continue to grow and gain the traction it deserves with a heightened awareness and education around involving persons with an impairment participating within sport at all levels.
Owen Coyle Jr. is the Head Coach at the England Amputee Football Association.