FA chairman to visit Suffolk

FOOTBALL Association chairman David Bernstein will be in Suffolk on Saturday as a part of his programme of visits to see at firsthand grassroots football in action across the country.

Ahead of attending the Ipswich Town versus Leeds United match at Portman Road, he will be given a tour of grassroots football in the region and meet local representatives of the game in the county.

His first stop will be AFC Sudbury Football Club, an FA Charter Standard Community Club where he will witness their grassroots football in action with normal Saturday morning training sessions. He will see how the club is achieving excellent results by positioning itself in the very heart of the community.

AFC Sudbury house 19 teams from U7 to adult including ladies and girls football. He will also view the club’s first-class facilities of a stadium pitch and clubhouse and a designated grassroots facility which were part funded by The Football Foundation.

He will then visit Ipswich Charioteers Wheelchair Football Club, who are an FA Charter Standard Club, where they have a scheduled training session and practise match. They play and train at St Albans School, Ipswich. They are the Suffolk FA’s Equality Ambassadors and have ex-professional Ipswich Town legends Roger Osborne, Kevin Beattie and ex-Colchester and Ipswwich coach Steve Foley amongst their sponsors.

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Following this he will visit the Suffolk FA Referees Academy which is based at the Ipswich Town Academy site. The Referees Academy provides a safe environment for new or young officials to develop their refereeing skills under the guidance of Referees’ Coaches who are some of the top current and former referees in the county. He will watch some of the SFA academy officials referee an ITFC Academy match. He will experience the pre-match instructions as well as the on-going in the moment coaching from head coach Trevor Pollard once the match has commenced.

In addition to officiating that match they will then have the opportunity to go to Portman Road in the afternoon to watch the game against Leeds United and this will be part of ‘The Big Match Experience’ where they will meet the match officials prior to and after the game.

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The tour will finish at Portman Road where he will watch a training session of the Ipswich Town Charitable Trust – DS Active squad. He will experience the life-changing environment for all those involved. DSActive is the football coaching for people with Down’s Syndrome aged 5-25. Through linking with the DSA (Down’s Syndrome Association) and a local organisation More Fun the DSActive programme Ability Counts programme was launched back in October 2010, having 17 youngsters from across Suffolk attend the launch day. Since then they have delivered a 30-week programme on Saturday mornings at the football club from 10-11am, having a regular 14 participants attend.

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