Islington’s first amputee football team, the London Amps, has begun training, and is the first London based team for amputees recognised by the England Amputee Football Association.
The team consists of single- and double-leg amputees, but do not qualify to play in the Paralympics, which are only open to the visually impaired and those with cerebral palsy. This means that the team do not qualify for financial support.
James Catchpole, 31, set up the team, based in Holloway, a month ago. He says that finding money is a problem: “Amputee football is not sufficiently developed and doesn’t yet tick all the boxes, this is why it is not a Paralympic sport. But because of this there is a lack of funding for amputee football from the EAFA.”
The team, who struggle to find others to play against, lost their first match against an able-bodied team with learning disabilities last week.
Catchpole remained optimistic: “We tend to play against people with a wide range of disabilities, including learning disabilities. It’s great we all mix in.”
Team member and keen sportsman Michael Ishiguzo, 33, who lost his leg in a sporting accident, says it is great thing to be involved in: “The talent is amazing and gives you a real sense of belonging.”
Catchpole says that the future of amputee football should be focused on the Paralympics: “On a national level we need to recruit more players to strengthen the teams and let people know about amputee football.”