The Royal National College for the Blind’s (RNC) Football Team started their European Blind Football League (EBFL) 2023/24 campaign with a convincing 8-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the opening tournament held in Greece.

The team, hosted by Pirsos Thessaloniki, played two matches in the tournament, showcasing some impressive skills.

RNC faced a tougher challenge against Cecifoot Charleroi, the 2022/23 League Winners. Despite the stiff competition, RNC emerged victorious, with a 2-0 win.

The team used their wins in Greece to pay tribute to Phil ‘Dixie’ Dean, who passed away after a short illness in October.

He played an essential role in the development of Blind Football in the UK and had various roles with the England Blind Football Team including sighted goalkeeper, guide and kitman.

More recently he turned his hand to commentary – commentating on all six games at last year’s home tournament of the European League and all matches at the IBSA World Games in Birmingham during the summer.

Tom Bendall, the team’s sighted guide, said:

‘The Team would like to tribute the wins to Phil ‘Dixie’ Dean. Dixie loved these trips and had a huge influence on all players and staff involved. For Dixie!’

Currently sitting at the top of the League table, RNC is excited to continue their form in the upcoming rounds. The next tournament will be hosted by ASDD Roma in Italy on 2 March 2024, before the team returns home to host the tournament on 30 March 2024 at the ‘Home of Blind Football’ in Hereford.

The home event promises to be a fantastic festival of football, promoting football for all, and showcasing the exceptional talent of its blind players. It will be a rare opportunity for the local community to come and witness the sport and cheer on the home side.

More details on the event will follow early in the new year.