The most successful Styrian football club founded a team for people with intellectual disabilities for the first time. The "Special Blackies" powered by Austrian Lotteries will represent SK Sturm Graz as an independent team at various tournaments and matches in the future.
The Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 in Styria moved people in this country in a very special way - including SK Sturm Graz. Already in the run-up to the World Games, there was close cooperation between the most successful Styrian football club and Special Olympics. For example, the World Games were promoted through perimeter advertising and videos at home games, and the major event was also regularly referred to in various online media and platforms. Sturm players became "ambassadors" and a "Special Olympics Day" was held as part of a home match. Even on the home jersey, the words "Special Olympics 2017" were used to promote the Games. Now a new chapter is being written in the cooperation: SK Sturm Graz has founded the "Special Blackies" and is sending a very strong signal for inclusion with its own so-called "Special Needs Team"!
Sturm stands for very specific values
"The World Games in Styria in 2017 were very inspiring for me and for SK Sturm. We always support social projects and made a clear commitment to Special Olympics even before the World Games. A year ago we took the initiative for our own Special Needs team, and now we have been able to take the next step," explains Sturm President Christian Jauk. SK Sturm is thus the first football club in Austria to now run a Special Needs team in addition to the men's and women's Bundesliga teams, the amateurs and numerous youth teams. "Sturm stands for very specific values, we have roots that we always remember. And even though we as a club see our Special Blackies as a matter of the heart, I am pleased that Austrian Lotteries have stepped in as the main sponsor for the team and hope that partners from Styria will follow this example," said Jauk. By the way, so far there are seven other Special Needs teams in Austria, the bigger clubs like Altach, St. Pölten, Admira, Vienna, Austria Wien and Rapid have already founded these teams, in Carinthia there is also a lower-class club, ASKÖ Wölfnitz, which has recently started a football team for people with intellectual impairments.