It has been an incredible 12 months for women’s football, with unprecedented support since the Lionesses won the Euros. However, despite this, the England Deaf Women’s football team is struggling to fund its way to the Deaf World Cup in Malaysia later this year.
The team is entirely self-funded and not supported by the Football Association. This means that just attending tournaments is a major battle, and they are currently facing the possibility of not being able to compete in the Deaf World Cup in Malaysia later this year if they cannot raise £37,000 by the end of June.
The England Deaf Women’s team was founded in 2008, and they made their debut at the World Cup in Greece that year, where they won a bronze medal. Since then, they have won four bronze medals at the Deaflympics. However, the team is not funded by the FA, and no other resources or support are offered by the FA for deaf 11-a-side women’s football.
The lack of funding and support from the FA means players are taking on additional duties from organising trials to searching for sponsorship.
England player Claire Stancliffe, a veteran of the team who has played at three Deaflympics and won four bronze medals, explains that it’s not just the fundraising, but also the time off work required to attend tournaments and the loss of pay. All staff volunteer their time to support the team alongside their daily jobs.
“It is really difficult,” Stancliffe, who plays club football for St Ives Town Ladies, explains. “It adds stress and pressure on players and staff when realistically we should be focusing on training. There have been times where I have had to prioritise fundraising over training.”
The Deaf Sports and Football Foundation has launched a fundraiser to raise £100,000 to send the team to Malaysia, with 50% required by the end of June. There has been some individual support from donors but the team needs funds quickly as they are at less than 20% of the target.
Gift of Kit is calling on businesses of all sizes to get behind the squad and show their support.
Chief Operating Officer, Jonathan Green, said, “It would be a huge shame if the team didn’t make it to the World Cup. They deserve to be there, and to see that in jeopardy due to a lack of funding is particularly disappointing.”
“This is a great opportunity for a brand/s to be involved in a Social Impact cause that will make a real difference. The women thrive both physically and mentally from being part of the team, and have been training for months with the goal of traveling and competing in Malaysia; for this to have been for nothing would be a real shame.
There are tangible benefits of supporting the team via various sponsorship packages, and opportunities to amplify the support through content capture and social media throughout the build up and the tournament itself.
Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org