Sprowston Powerchair star takes to BBC against FIFA corruption

Rosie Hodgson with David Ginola on the Victoria Derbyshire panel

Rosie Hodgson with David Ginola on the Victoria Derbyshire panel - Credit: Archant

A Sprowston teenager turned ambassador for disability football yesterday after being invited onto the BBC to debate corruption at the top of the sport.

Rosie Hodgson, 17, joined former French international David Ginola and chairman of the Football Association Greg Dyke on the Victoria Derbyshire Show to chew over the impact of fraud and corruption allegations in FIFA.

The Powerchair football star who has a rare form of lymphoedema had been head-hunted on Twitter by researchers for the show,.

Rosie, who plays for Aspire PFC based in the capital, said she hoped to be able to raise the profile of the game. 'I was there to represent Powerchair football and give my views on what is happening at the top of FIFA at the moment,' she said.

Though Rosie wasn't given as much airtime as she would have liked, she said money needs to trickle down from the top to enable more grass-roots participation.

'I think it is very corrupt and everything needs to be changed, taken back to the beginning and started again,' she said.

'The trouble is Powerchair football isn't really well-known, so I was hoping to be able to talk a little bit more on that subject.

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'There is not enough grass-roots funding. At this level we all have to fund raise for ourselves, so if people were to reallocate funding they need to allocate it to the grass roots.

'That is the future of the sport, and to help people coming in you need to have more funding at the grass roots, not just at a regional level but at a national level, so people can access the sport.'

Rosie was particularly impressed with ex-Spurs player Ginola, who failed in a run against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency last year.

'He is the best ambassador for football in the world, and he just wants people to play the game as we know it, and not to confuse it with money,' added Rosie. 'He wants the game to be run as normal without so much corruption.'

Rosie, who suffers from a rare form of lymphoedema, is half-way through a funding appeal to secure a new wheelchair, which would enable her to continue to compete at the highest level.

'I have around £3,500 at the moment, but there is still a long way to go,' she said.

'The clock is ticking now and I am getting quite nervous. My team has all got theirs, and I am the only one without, so I can't keep up at the moment.'

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