IWFF World Championships at the SMH Group Stadium

The World Championships of walking football’s international organisation are being held at the SMH Group Stadium next week. To help the team from Australia warm-up for the tournament, Chesterfield’s walking football club, the Senior Spireites, are playing a series of games against them. These matches will be the first international games that the Spireites have played in during their 12-year history.

For many of the Senior Spireites, this will be their one and only chance to play against an overseas team. The club’s members will be divided into one of four age groups to play against the opposition: Over 50s, Over 60s Over 65s and Over 70s, to provide an opportunity for as many people to participate as possible. 

The warm up matches will take place at Queen’s Park Leisure Centre, Chesterfield on May 14/15 and supporters are very welcome to attend. On May 15, the Chesterfield women’s walking football club, the Spirettes, are also playing against the Australian women’s team.

The World Championships themselves are being held at the SMH Group Stadium over the weekend of May 17-19 and involve teams from Australia, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, France, Wales, Poland and the hosts, England. The organisers are the IWFF (International Walking Football Federation Council) and they are involving the local community, with primary school visits by the overseas teams. More details are available via https://www.iwff.org.uk/services

Malc Perks, chair of the Senior Spireites, commented: “To have an international football tournament taking place on our door step is an amazing opportunity to both watch high quality sport and to be involved in its organisation.

“The Senior Spireites have always had a close relationship with Chesterfield FC Community Trust and so we jumped at the chance to play some warm-up matches against one of the visiting teams.

“Our club members are also going to help over the weekend of the championships with car parking duties, match stewarding and supporting the Trust make this unique event as successful as possible.”

The Trust’s chief executive, John Croot, came up with the idea for a walking version of football for an ‘Extra Time’ initiative aimed at people aged 55 and over. It has since become a popular sport around the world.

A blue plaque will be unveiled soon, close to the HUB, recognising Chesterfield FC Community Trust’s role in the formation of walking football.