The IBF Foundation added to the quality of the recent IBSA Blind Football European Championships in Pescara, Italy, from 3-18 June, by sending several staff members to work alongside the local organising committee. The event included IBSA's first official women's international competition and we gave it the same level of support as the men's competition.
Particularly significant results were achieved in the distribution of match footage and media exposure. Live coverage was provided in English and Italian with the addition of English and Italian play-by-play respectively, with IBF Foundation staff providing on-site support to deal with any problems that arose during the tournament. Live streaming was a success, with a total of 363,900 views of all the matches by the end of the tournament.
As far as we are aware, in addition to the host country Italy, the event was covered by television, newspapers and online media in France, UK, Germany, Spain and Turkey. These media include BBC, L'Equipe, La Gazetta Dello Sport and other much-visited media.
The sponsorship of Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. was behind this. This sponsorship helped to promote interest in and understanding of blind football and people with a visual impairment, including opportunities for a lecture by an Italian national team player to the company's local employees. At the awards ceremony, the Santen Fair Play Award was presented. The award was presented to the England team in the women's competition and the Czech Republic team in the men's competition. We were able to deliver outcomes for a sponsor company, such as building relationships with local stakeholders.
For IBF Foundation, this is the third time we have supported an international tournament organised by IBSA, following the 2019 Asian Championships and the 2021 European Championships Division 2. IBF Foundation is steadily improving the quality of the competitions, increasing the number of people involved and changing the way people view visually impaired people, while building on past experience.
We now look forward to further improving and expanding our support at upcoming events, such as the IBSA Blind Football African Championships in Rabat, Morocco, from September 18th to 25th, the IBSA Blind Football American Championships in Córdoba, Argentina, from 23rd to 28th October, and the IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships in Kochi, India, from 10th to 19th November.