FPICB is Olympic

"It is a great pleasure to announce that FPICB (Federazione Paralimpica Italiana Calcio Balilla) has been recognized by the Italian Paraympic Commitee.

On March the 4th 2013, FPICB has been officially recognized as a Paralympic sport. This is the first federation which obtained the recognition from a National Sportive Committee and it represents a lot for our sport development.

ITSF and all foosball community can now count on a new support to keep growing internationnaly. FPICB experience and determination has finally paid off and this is just the beginning...

Interbiew of FPICB President, Francesco Bonanno and his team :

- Present yourself

Francesco Bonanno, born on August 26th, 1976 in Varese. Disabled since 1991 after a street motor accident. Professional Go Kart racing driver, winning 6 consecutive times at the Italian Championships, 1st place at the European Championship and 3rd place in the able-bodied Bologna Motor show in 1998.

Francesco, President of FPICB (Italian Paralympics Table Soccer Federation),
has always supported the promotion of Table Soccer to the disabled having the intention to prove that living adversely is not a limit but a stimulus to achieve new aims. Francesco’s first aim is to have Table Soccer become a rehabilitation and Paralympic sport.

Within the federation Francesco’s main role is to continuously be in direct follow up and communications with the associations, hospitals, Paralympic Committees, foundations, sponsors, projects and event organizers.

Palmares : World Champion “disabled category” in the years 2008-2009-2010-2011 & 2012.

Roberto Falchero (First Vice President of Federation), born in 1968. He is not an athlete, but he is in the foosball world by more than 15 years. He has pushed Francesco and Fabio to create the FPICB, with the aim of giving the right connotations to this new reality for disabled athletes. Especially to carry this game to a real sport.

Roberto is the coach of the Italian Paralympic Team. Within the federation Roberto’s main role is the communications with the media, take care of all Public Relations and follow up the planning and to define the budget.

Palmares : World Champion 2013

Fabio Cassanelli, born in 1973. Disabled after an accident at the age of 22 years old.

Fabio is the Second Vice President of the Federation. Within the federation, Fabio’s tasks are as follows: coach, referee, event organizer, supervisor, federation representative, instructor. Sets up the postural criteria’s to ensure fairness of for the comparison of different disabilities.

Palmares : World Champion “disabled category” – doubles in 2009-2010-2011-2012 &2013-2014
Bronze medal – World Championship – disabled singles in 2013
Silver medal – World Championship – disabled singles in 2012

- Present your federation

The Italian Paralympic Table Soccer Federation (known as FPICB) was established on November, 22nd, 2011 to give an official character and concrete form to all the efforts and ventures that Francesco Bonanno along with other athletes and tables soccer fans have promoted for years ahead among the disabled. In fact, the first introduction to table soccer in rehabilitation centres was back in 2006, and was greatly appreciated not only by disabled players but also by the health professionals in those centres. During September 2011, the first Italian Paralympic event was organized, it can not be called an Italian Championship but still it was the final stage of various tournaments held in rehabilitation centers during that year having more than 50 disabled participating in it.

Since its establishment, the federation has brought forward all those initiatives and efforts already launched before its foundation, by holding them within those different projects for different types of disabilities. Moreover, after the approval by the Italian Paralympics Committee regarding this sports discipline, the federation is called to present its activity in different official events.

The federation is formed of a directive committee having Francesco Bonanno as its president, Roberto Falchero as vice president, Fabio Cassanelli as second vice president and coach. Radu Corina, Pierangelo Bandera, Roberto Cuminetti, Emilio Tondelli and Ferri Mirko as council members. We have the affiliation of 5 Italian regions and 15 rehabilitation centers within the national territory.

- Why become a Paralympics sport ?

Thanks to Francesco Bonanno and Roberto Falchero & Fabio Cassanelli, the pioneers along with important back up of their supporters, this sportive activity is recognized on March, 4th 2013. This important goal was achieved, after the CIP supervision that have certified the effective support of this sportive activity, the several organized matches, the varieties of professional capacities showed and certified the effective work made to promote the table soccer for the disabled.

Until this date the FPICB is the unique federation to have obtained, for the disabled players in the table soccer category, an official recognition from a national sportive committee.

- How did you manage the application process ?

The CIP wanted to evaluate the work made during these last years, therefore we had to demonstrate accurately all our activities with a specified report of the events organized and the balances.

To give an indication to the other federation who intend to start up and follow our path, a summarize of the procedures taken is shown below:

1. Allocate a disable referee for the Paralympics sector within the federation.
2. To promote the table soccer sportive activity the following entities should be involved:
- Disable associations
- Sportive disable associations
- Disabled hospital centres
- Schools
- Foundations and organizations that help in the disable sector.

Organize small events that involve the above mentioned entities, even though just for demonstration issues. Professional & medical staff in hospital centres should be informed about the use of the table soccer as a therapy. For each event, the local referee of the National Paralympics committee should be involved and when possible require a patronage for it.

- Main obstacles you met ?

To be honest, the main obstacle is financial, we had to pay all our activities with our own money. The bureaucratical aspect was the second obstacle. Besides, we had some problems caused by the Italian Federation who tried to “disturb” our activity.

- What means the recognition of the paralympic committee (financial, sport ..)?

The recognition obtained have:
- Facilitated the entrance and involvement in the demonstrations and institutional areas, that were not accessible before.
- Facilitated the participation to all the official events organized by the CIP, INAIL and other entities.
- Guaranteed the quality of our services offered to the players, associations and hospitals.
- Being more trustworthy when presenting to potential sponsors
- Some possibility to have a financial support from the CIP.

- Any advice ?

To obtain these results, it is essential to work hard and to have a full time person who follows up the whole project.

In my opinion, it is very important for a federation that wants to promote the Paralympics sector to have a disabled person who takes in charge this activity since he/she is more motivated and knows well the problem about the mobility/organization and for the public relations.

- What's next ?

We are only at the beginning … we should work to find a referee in each Italian region, that can be able to promote projects and events autonomously under the supervision of the FPICB. Besides it is essential to promote the activity in the foreign countries to help the growth of this sport internationally.

More information HERE."

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