Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO David Gallop today announced a new philanthropic funding model to get the stalled Pararoos back in action.
The Australian National Paralympic Football program was effectively put in mothballs after the Australian Sports Commission withdrew funding in June last year.
But a groundswell of support has led to a new funding initiative, in partnership with the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF), enabling the community to make tax deductible donations to support the Pararoos' international pursuits.
Last year FourFourTwo followed the brave campaign of Claire Falls to find a solution to the funding plight of the elite disabled football team.
The partially blind 12-year-old from Canberra penned a heartfelt letter in the hope of having Commonwealth funding reinstated.
Her Eyes of a Dreamer site touched a chord with the football family and the wider Australian public who jumped on board her inspirational campaign.
On Wednesday Claire took to social media to express her excitement about the outcome.
— Claire Falls (@eyesofadream) March 18, 2015
Gallop paid tribute to Claire’s heroic efforts and said planning was also underway to include a women’s program within three years.
The eventual goal is to have a whole of disability football program including deaf and blind football as well as powerchair and other disability-focused programs.
Socceroos legends Mark Bresciano and Mark Schwarzer have been named as special ambassadors for the Pararoos.
“FFA has looked at several options to restore funding to the Pararoos and the partnership with the Australian Sports Foundation was clearly a winner,” Gallop said.
“All the funds raised through this partnership will go towards keeping the Pararoos on the pitch.
“I would like to thank all the supporters of the Pararoos, and in particular the efforts of young Claire Falls from the ACT, who signed petitions, contacted media organisations and made representations to elected members of Parliament in championing the cause during the difficult times.
“As a result of your passion, we have the confidence that the Pararoos will have a long and bright future.”
Long-time assistant coach, Kai Lammert, has been appointed as the head coach of the Pararoos.
ASF CEO Patrick Walker said: “This campaign is important for ensuring the Pararoos are able to compete at the highest level, just like the Socceroos.
“However, if anything, it is more important for the inspiration the Pararoos provide to all Australians challenged by disability, I urge the football community to get involved and support the Pararoos,” said Walker.”
PHOTO: The Pararoos side that defeated Spain in August 2013. Pic by footballaustralia.com.aucomments