The following articles on amputee soccer and amputee athletes have been gathered from both U.S. and international sources.
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Irate Delegates Disband IAFF

World Amputee Football Federation
Becomes New World Governing Body

Tashkent, Uzbekistan - Nov. 2003 - The International Amputee Football Federation is no more.

In a short, sharp meeting at the recent international tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, delegates representing amputee soccer on four continents delivered a stinging rejection of the IAFF's leadership and administration.

The delegates' discontent was so profound that after a very brief discussion they voted unanimously to disband the organization.


Former IAFF President
Tom Feller

After delivering the fatal vote, and ignoring the protests of former IAFF President Thomas Feller, the national representatives simply walked out of the Congress meeting and went home.

Delegates reported that concerns about the Moscow-based IAFF developed after the 2001 World Cup in Brazil. Those concerns became critical after both on-the-field and election irregularities at the 2002 World Championships in Sochi, Russia.

When contacted to confirm the fall of IAFF, Ms. Tanya Reshetina of the Russian Football Federation responded, "Yes, the IAFF has been dissolved. It no longer exists."

But even as national delegates rejected IAFF and its administration, trans-continental efforts began to replace the failed organization with a new, stronger, player and development oriented organization.

WAFF Becomes New
Global Governing Body

In the weeks after the IAFF collapse, the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) was formed with the advice of ISMWSF-ISOD, the new world organization formed by the merger of the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation and the International Sports Organization for the Disabled.

According to Co-organizer Jim Frere, Albania, Brazil, England, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Ukraine, and the USA were the first nations to agree to the new organization's . More than 30 more national disability sport bodies are currently considering membership.

"The WAFF is set up to be a truly democratic sport organization," said Frere, an amputee and former semi-professional footballer himself.

"We're looking to help develop our game into a truly global sport - to give amputees and Les Autres everywhere the opportunity to participate.

 

WAFF Co-Organizer
Jim Frere, England

"At the local level the game is a great rehabilitation and recreational sport. Anyone can kick a ball on crutches, and they can have an exceptional amount of fun doing it.

"But we're also setting the stage for the more competitively inclined with true, high level national and international competitions.

"There are some exceptional, elite class athletes in the game today. We know there are others who will become world-class players govern the opportunity."

Frere said the new World Amputee Football Federation is pledged to avoid the shortcoming of its failed predecessor.

WAFF promises focus on players, sport development.   Photo © Steve Wilber, USA



"At its base this game is about the players and is about the sport. The IAFF lost that focus and failed as a result.

"That lesson was not lost on us. We're pledged to remain focused on the game and the players, and we have a Constitution which will keep us on task."

Frere said individuals, teams and associations interested in more information on the WAFF should contact him at jim_frere@hotnail or co-organizer Rick Hofmann (USA).

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