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Emma Brown admits Team GB faces race against time to raise funds for futsal squad to compete at 2024 Winter Deaflympics in Turkey

By Holly Morris

Faversham footballer Emma Brown has expressed concern over Team GB competing at the Winter Deaflympics due to funding struggles.

With no funding available from UK Sport, the team now has less than two weeks to raise £40,000.

Faversham deaf footballer Emma Brown. Picture: Kent FA
Faversham deaf footballer Emma Brown. Picture: Kent FA

The 31-year-old futsal captain said: “We’ll be devastated if we don’t find the funds to go.

“Fundraising is going well for me, but we’ve got to do it as a team. I believe in this team.”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Deaflympics, which is being held in Turkey from March 2-12.

Futsal is a form of small-sided indoor football and it will feature at the Winter Deaflympics for the first time this year.

Brown puts the barriers to funding down to “a lack of deaf awareness out there”.

Fifty three per cent of deaf adults over the age of 16 do not get involved in sports, compared with 15 per cent of those without a disability.

“We need to encourage as many kids as we can into sport and grow their confidence,” said Brown.

Brown won a bronze medal with Team GB at last year’s futsal World Championships in Brazil.

“It was a dream to play football in Brazil, where it was started,” she said.

“You work so hard to earn that shirt and it’s just an honour.”

Brown has nearly reached the £2,500 target each individual squad member needs to raise despite the lack of centralised funding.

Sport England said: "We understand the desire for change on Deaflympics funding for elite deaf athletes and are supporting UK Deaf Sport as they navigate this and explore potential solutions.

"Tackling inequalities is at the heart of our work to get more people active."

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