A competitive disability football league has secured Gresham Sports Park in West Bridgford as its new home for the forthcoming football season bringing 250 players from across the region together to compete in over 200 games throughout the tournament.
The East Midlands PAN Disability Football League offers a regular competitive playing opportunity for inclusive clubs for both youth and adult players of any gender and takes place every third Sunday of the month.
Rushcliffe Borough Council is proud to have agreed the league’s move to the site as part of a disability hub for local sport after a £1.2m investment awarded from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation last year.
This also included a £458,275 grant towards the refurbishment of the sports park in partnership with the Council, Football Foundation and the Nottinghamshire Football Association.
The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities and Climate Change Cllr Abby Brennan joined players and representatives of the league and Nottinghamshire Football Association to celebrate the first match of the season on Sunday September 18.
She said: “This is a fantastic partnership and we’re delighted to welcome the East Midlands PAN Disability Football League to Gresham Sports Park and see the season kick-off!
“We’re proud Rushcliffe is becoming a disability hub welcome to all and it’s great to see the league has chosen Gresham as its new home.
“The sports park has seen a significant investment into the football pitches and playing fields with modern and accessible facilities and we think this is a perfect match for the league’s increasing profile in attracting clubs and players from across the region.
“It’s in a central location with excellent transport bus and tram links meaning that players can easily travel and play.”
Sara Dickinson, Head of Football Development at Nottinghamshire Football Association added: “We are really excited to see The East Midlands Pan Disability League move to Gresham Sports Park.
“Gresham has great transport links making it very accessible for our players, club and supporters from not just Nottingham but Derby, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire to attend.
“Inclusion football is growing across Nottinghamshire and the leagues move to a bigger facility like Gresham reflects this.
“Gresham provides the league to further grow and accept more teams into the league, it will also provide space for the league to offer additional services around well-being, mental health support and other social support services across Nottingham, helping create a disability hub across Nottinghamshire.”
Darren Bailey, Chairman of the East Midlands PAN Disability League said: “It’s been an amazing five years since we started the league with just nine teams of over 16’s. We have grown out of the previous venue with this season having an additional under 16’s league too.
“We stopped the league during Covid and were concerned about the future, so I’d like to thank all the teams for their great support this year.
“We have just stepped up to a whole new level and with the support of Gresham Sports Park, the sky is the limit to give these players and teams a safe, controlled, and most of all fun environment for them to play the great game of football.
“It has been a team effort over the last few years and special thanks to Nottinghamshire FA for the support and to everyone that has made it possible, including the cakes and drinks that our supporters run on match days to keep even the spectators happy.”
The recreational ground now boasts a new floodlit 3G football turf pitch, a fully refurbished 3G pitch, six full sized grass pitches, one mini grass football pitch and newly renovated accessible changing facilities.
To find out how to get involved in the league, or for sponsorship opportunities, email Sara Dickinson at Sara.Dickinson@nottinghamshirefa.com.
Further details about Gresham Sports Park, including booking information is available at: https://www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/venues/greshamsportspavilion/