Location and general information
There are more than 100,000 disabled children in the Netherlands. Exercise is very important to improve their health, independence and self-confidence. Disabled children are more likely to experience loneliness, and sport gives them the opportunity to make friends. The Het Gehandicapte Kind foundation believes that all children should be able to share the same dreams and playing for their favourite football club is one those.
In 2019, the Het Gehandicapte Kind foundation kicked off the world’s first official football competition for disabled children: Bijzondere Eredivisie. Thanks to the funding of the UEFA Foundation, the third season can begin!
Children with a disability are given the opportunity to join a professional football club and play the sport they love. Playing sport helps them become socially included, build friendships and boost their self-confidence. Ten football clubs competed in the first season: Ajax, ADO Den Haag, De Graafschap, Excelsior, FC Emmen, FC Groningen, FC Utrecht, Heracles Almelo, SC Heerenveen and VVV Venlo.
- Increase the visibility of children with disabilities.
- Inspire disabled children to believe that anything is possible.
- Increase disabled children’s participation in sports.
- Increase awareness of disabled football in the Netherlands.
- Establish a sustainable competition.
- Clubs 'scout' their own team during the open selection days for approximately 200 disabled children.
- Ten clubs and 120 children participate in the competition (more clubs and more children next season).
- The teams train once a week at the grounds of their professional club.
- A competition takes place twice a month, and every professional football club hosts once a season.
- The competitions are a fully organised event with a welcome by the club manager, lunch and transport.
- Communication via social media platforms (Bijzondere Eredivisie and football clubs’ channels).
- Children socialise and make new friends through their football clubs.
- Children act as a catalyst for a more positive, inclusive perception of disabled children.
- More disabled children start to play football.
- Notable improvement in the confidence and health of the disabled children.
- Minimum of 18 professional clubs involved in the competition.