The FA Disability Cup finals weekend brings together teams of players with various disabilities in competition for six different FA Cup trophies. BT Sport provided the coverage at St George’s Park.
By Tom Jamison
Played over the weekend of 11-12 June 2022 the finals weekend celebrated the top two cup teams in partially sighted, amputee, blind, cerebral palsy, powerchair and Deaf football.
What was clear from the start, was how much the finals meant to every single player. Every final was hard fought with penalties being the only way to separate the teams in several finals. It also demonstrated how infinitely adaptable sport is for people with different physical and sensory needs.
Above all, it showcased some real talent, and in some forms of the game there is already an elite pathway for players, such as in cerebral palsy. England midfielder, Cameron Osburn helped NE & Yorkshire overcome CP Northwest in the cerebral palsy cup final, which after an eight goal thriller, was decided on penalties that went all the way to sudden death.
Osburn commented: “That’s CP football for you, it’s fast paced!
I got my opportunity to go to a world cup based on last years’ final, so it’s all to play for. St George’s Park is the home of English football and all the players should be proud to play here. This is where we want to play.
BT Sport have provided great coverage of the game and that heightens the exposure of disability football. It gets it out there for everyone involved – and those that will get involved. The FA have also got their disability football plan and I think it’s really going to grow.”
Also watching proceedings was Paralympian, Hannah Cockroft, now part of the BT Sport broadcast team. She said: “This whole event just makes me incredibly proud. The fact that disability sport is getting screentime and recognition. I guess I just never believed it would happen and yet, here we are and the game’s just getting stronger and stronger. The finals this weekend have been absolutely amazing – that potentially nobody would have seen (without BT Sport’s coverage).
They want it! Just that backing from BT Sport, makes it important as well, because you know people are watching at home – and that someone might be inspired…
FIFA retweeted the winning goal from the Blind final. Last time we checked, it was on something like 350,000 views!”
With some of the finals being quite a short format and played on smaller pitches, the schedulers for Commonwealth and Paralympic Games should be taking notice and considering how they could be added to the parasports roster. If that happens, the transformative effect of the sport would be far reaching since football is essentially a simple game, known by everyone, understood by everyone and now, played by everyone.
The results over the weekend were:
Partially Sighted Final – Birmingham Futsal 5-1 Merseyside Futsal
Amputee Final – Manchester City Amputees 1-0 Portsmouth Amputees
Blind Final – Royal National College (RNC) for the Blind Hereford 2-2 Brighton and Hove Albion Blind FC (RNC won 1-0 on penalties)
Cerebral Palsy Final – CP North West 4-4 North East and Yorkshire CP FC (North East and Yorkshire CP FC won 5-4 on penalties)
Powerchair Final – Northern Thunder 1-1 West Bromwich Albion PFC (Northern Thunder won 2-1 on penalties)
Deaf Final – Farsley Celtic Deaf FC 3-2 St. John’s Deaf FC