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A Level Playing Field 2009

Manchester United showcases its work with disabled supporters and players.

| by Rachel Ferguson

A Level Playing Field 2009

The game against Aston Villa on Sunday 4th of April was this year’s designated game for the National Association of Disabled Supporters’ (NADS) Level Playing Field campaign. This year the focus was on ‘unseen’ disabilities such as mental health issues and learning difficulties which may not be physically visible.

The day was a fantastic success and saw ground staff, ball boys and Fred the Red wearing specially commissioned Level Playing Field T-shirts. Half time saw a competitive match between small-sided teams from Manchester United Foundation and Aston Villa’s Ability Counts teams. Manchester United’s side were the victors in a game that finished 3-2, mirroring the final score of the Manchester United versus Aston Villa game. 

The Manchester United Foundation’s disability programme provides opportunities to people of all ages and abilities to play football. The programme also provides 10 hours of free coaching opportunities for young people and adults with disabilities. Alongside the programme, the Foundation runs a centre of excellence in partnership with the Manchester FA in order to encourage more talented players from the Ability Counts teams into the seven England national squads.

Established in 1989, the Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association (MUDSA) was the first dedicated disabled supporters’ organisation in England and continues to be a success. The stadium has capacity for 120 disabled supporters and their personal assistants in three different areas alongside provision of audio description services for visually impaired supporters.