‘WITH­OUT £35K OUR WORLD CUP DREAM AT RISK’

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by ED GLEAVE

ENG­LAND’S am­putee footie team need £35,000 to make their World Cup dreams come true.

Their hopes of vic­tory at the tour­na­ment later this year are at risk be­cause of a cash short­fall.

Head coach Owen Coyle, 21, said: “We don’t re­ceive sup­port from any na­tional Gov­ern­ment body. Our only sup­port­ers are our spon­sors Sim­ply Busi­ness. They’ve been in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous and sup­port­ive and have do­nated £35,000 this year alone.

“But for this year’s pro­gramme we need around £70,000. That is for train­ing week­ends, pre-tour­na­ments, kits. So we’ve got a short­fall of about £35,000 which the play­ers and staff are try­ing to fundraise.

“If we can’t find that money then it makes it much more dif­fi­cult to par­tic­i­pate in all the ac­tiv­i­ties we have planned through­out the year.

“And we’d po­ten­tially have to take a smaller staff and play­ing squad to the World Cup. Hope­fully that won’t be the case. But it’s a mas­sive chal­lenge to raise the money year in, year out.”

The World Am­putee Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion’s World Cup will take place in Mex­ico in Novem­ber. Owen, of Black­pool, said: “We got knocked out in the quar­ter-fi­nals in the 2014 tour­na­ment, so we’re rel­ish­ing the chance to go back and right a few wrongs.

“We fin­ished sec­ond at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships. So we’re hope­ful we can do well in Novem­ber.”

In am­putee foot­ball the play­ers have lost a leg and goal­keep­ers have lost an arm.

Owen said: “We’ve got play­ers who lost limbs through traf­fic ac­ci­dents, through can­cer or menin­gi­tis and oth­ers who have lost a limb in the mil­i­tary. The so­cial as­pect of play­ing helps with their con­fi­dence and it gives them a fo­cus in their lives. And they all feel very for­tu­nate to rep­re­sent their coun­try.”

The team is call­ing on Daily Star Sun­day read­ers to help them win the tour­na­ment. Owen added: “If there is any­one out there who wants to sup­port the team in any way they can, we’d be so grate­ful.

“If peo­ple can’t help fi­nan­cially then peo­ple can still help us by spread­ing the word about am­putee foot­ball on so­cial me­dia.”

■ AC­TION: Eng­land player and, be­low, coach Owen Coyle

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