Ħamrun Spartans FC and Ħamrun Ħanin launch Special Celebration on the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day 2024

Ħamrun Spartans FC and Ħamrun Ħanin, in collaboration with the Autism Parents Association have launched a unique initiative on the occasion of International World Autism Awareness Day, celebrated globally on 2nd April 2024, and culminating during the Izibet FA Trophy tie vs Birkirkara FC.

On the occasion of this quarter-final match-up, the Spartans will wear a special jersey designed by Jacob Fava, a nine-year-old child with autism. Each individual jersey will be signed by the player wearing it, creating a unique collectors item which will be auctioned off to the delight of football fans.

During a press launch, Hamrun Spartans FC Committee Vice President Gejtu Debattista explained how this initiative ties in with the Club’s objective to excel on three fronts – sport, commercial and social dimensions. He also highlighted how this event offered a unique teambuilding experience as it involved all the Club’s management, technical staff, players and the numerous voluntary members who support it on a daily basis. 

Details of the initiative were then shared by Ħamrun Ħanin Chairman Ian Debattista. “The experience of the past three years of existence of our voluntary organisation has demonstrated that football can truly create a bigger impact in raising awareness and in striving for better communities”, he explained. He added that although the culmination will be reached in the Birkirkara match, a number of ancillary activities have been held to raise funds for the autism community, with the organisations’ final objective being the setting up of a Multi-Sensory Room in Ħamrun. 

Ms Valerie Brincat, on behalf of the Autism Parents Association said: “Inclusion is about offering the same activities to everyone, while providing support and services to accommodate people’s differences. Inclusion is to actively reach out to people with different abilities and seek to understand and appreciate their differences, while fostering a sense of belonging”. She added that inclusion in employment, education, recreational and community settings like sports is a basic element of human rights. “Hence, if a person on the autism spectrum shows the desire to play football,  a sport that he loves… then he has a right to participate in the sport.” Ultimately, the foremost imperative thing about inclusion, is that it recognizes and respects the fundamental value of each and every person”, she concluded.

Ħamrun Spartans FC player Ryan Camenzuli shared his and his teammates’ enthusiasm towards this cause, expressing satisfaction at the opportunity to raise awareness on autism. “We are proud to be associated with this unique celebration as we believe we can play a role in helping persons with autism be better equipped to face the challenges they face in their daily lives”, he added. He encouraged football fans to take part in the auction for the signed jerseys, or purchase one of the celebratory t-shirts being made available for this event.

Further details on this initiative are available on the social media pages of Ħamrun Spartans FC, Ħamrun Ħanin and Autism Parents Association. The auction is accessible on https://app.galabid.com/hhautismday2024, with users needing to register first.