A DEAF football club has launched a £10,000 fundraiser appeal after they qualified for the Deaf Champions League – but don’t have the money to get there.
Farsley Celtic Deaf Football Club won last year’s iteration of the England Deaf Football Championship, which qualified them for this year’s Deaf Champions League.
The competition, which is taking place in Warsaw, Poland, starts on 26 June and will see the Leeds-based club compete amongst the European elite.
However, expenses pose a problem as the trip is estimated to cost in excess of £20,000, leading the team to set up a GoFundMe campaign two weeks ago.
The team are attempting to fund £10,000 themselves, but are looking to the generosity of others for the other half.
The campaign’s description reads: “The boys are ready to give this their best shot and hope to be crowned as champions of Europe. Most of the lads are students or in low income jobs.
“We desperately need your help to fulfill their dream. FCDFC is run by volunteers, not one person involved receives any income.
“We rely on sponsorship to enable us to continue to run this club and to be able to compete year on year.
“We have recently won the England Deaf Football north league for the second year running, and last summer we were crowned champions of England after winning the championship final and the BT disability cup live on BT Sport.
“So, we think it’s fair to say we are on a good run and hope this continues. It can – but only with your help.
“If you can help in any way it will be greatly appreciated, with your help we can try and bring the trophy back to Yorkshire.”
Speaking today assistant manager and team interpreter Matt Dixon said: “Farsley Celtic Deaf FC were formed six years ago.
“We have over 30 players registered with us, all with varying levels of deafness, the majority communicate by using British Sign Language.
“However there are some who are deaf but cannot sign and rely on lip reading.
“My role on the team is assistant manager and team interpreter. I’m a qualified BSL interpreter and CODA (child of deaf adults), so I’ve always been a part of the deaf community.
“The manager is called Kris Burns and he is profoundly deaf.”
Matt, from Doncaster, Yorkshire continued: “The majority of players who join us are based around Leeds and for many, this is the first time they have interacted with deaf people.
“Many have been brought up in hearing families and went to mainstream schools and rely solely on lip reading or hearing using devices such as cochlear implants.
“The majority of our players have played in hearing teams, but always found communication a struggle and felt isolated.
“Playing for a deaf team means they are interacting with like minded people who all have faced the same struggles with their deafness, and lack of access to information.
“Farsley Celtic has a family atmosphere, full of support and positivity. The club has grown from strength to strength.
“In the last four years we have won England Deaf football North three times and last year we won the England Deaf Football championship beating the champions of the south and current holders, St John’s Deaf FC.
“The final was held at St George’s Park and the game was shown live on BT Sport.
“It was a fantastic showcase for deaf football, we won 3-2 with the final winning goal coming in added time, scored by Kieran Carey. On the same day we were presented with the FA Disability Cup.
“As a result of this we qualified for the Deaf champions league, which is taking place in Warsaw Poland, at the end of June this year.”
Matt, 42, added: “It’s the first time we have qualified for this competition, we will be competing against some of the best deaf teams in Europe.
“Our team has five players selected for England Deaf Mens – Joe Dixon (club captain), Cavell Donaldson, Henry Bowe, Harry Boorman and William Palmer.
“They will be competing in the Deaf Football World Cup, held in Malaysia this September.
“Most of our players are students at university or in low paid jobs, the trip will be entirely self funded and we believe it will be in the £20k region.
“Flights, hotel, food, training kit, physio and transport while we are there.
“We are raising as much money as possible so that we can reduce the amount the players have to pay for themselves. Everyone at the club is a volunteer, no one receives any payment.”
Farsley Celtic Deaf FC have currently raised £2,980 of their £10,000 target with only 88 days to go until the tournament kicks-off.