As part of “European Football Week”, the BVB foundation “leuchte auf” once again invited partner organisation Special Olympics NRW e.V. to a football training session at the BVB Evonik Football Academy. The uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic meant there were doubts as to whether or not the eagerly anticipated event would be able to take place in 2020. Finally, at the end of September, confirmation was given and the training session was able to take place in compliance with special hygiene regulations.
The two organisations for people with disabilities were delighted when they received the news that a training course led by BVB coaches would be able to take place again this year. Despite Coronavirus, the BVB Foundation and Special Olympics were able to host the event at the former BVB first-team training ground, located right next to Signal Iduna Park. A total of 20 athletes with learning disabilities looked forward to a special football experience. In total, the course was made up of three different training stations with a variety of footballing themes.
The aim of “European Football Week”, organised by Special Olympics and UEFA, is to help people with learning disabilities to gain more self-confidence and social participation through sport and to increase their enthusiasm for sport in general. Although the number of participants this year was somewhat reduced due to the pandemic, the focus of the training remained unchanged compared to previous editions.
Throughout the training session at BVB, the emphasis was placed firmly on fun. Club mascot EMMA greeted the athletes before training and then also got involved in the various activities. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the football course was once again a thrilling experience. Thanks to EMMA and the dedicated coaches at the BVB Evonik Football Academy, all the participants enjoyed a day that will live long in the memory.
In the build-up to the training session, the Special Olympics NRW association teamed up with the “leuchte auf” foundation to invite two organisations for people with disabilities to visit the BVB training ground. The non-profit association has been working together with the BVB Foundation for several years now. For example, two children with disabilities are invited to join the team of mascots for every BVB home game in the Bundesliga. The children invited by the association can then enjoy the unbelievable experience of running onto the pitch at Signal Iduna Park alongside the Black & Yellow players.
As soon as everyday life returns to normal after the pandemic, the BVB Foundation will continue to promote the values of inclusion and once again invite children with disabilities to take part in home games as mascots.