Posted on: Mon 07 Oct 2013

Chelsea disability manager Rob Seale is to be honoured at a special Buckingham Palace ceremony hosted by HRH The Duke of Cambridge to recognise his services to football.

Seale will be among 150 grassroots heroes to be celebrated on Monday (7 October) at an event that forms part of The Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations. The heroes have all been chosen for their outstanding contribution and service to football and it was Seale's hard work and dedication in developing opportunities for disabled people to enjoy sport that led to his successful selection.

He will receive a medal from The FA president, HRH The Duke of Cambridge as one of those 150 people from across the national and professional game who regularly go above and beyond the call of duty.

Through Seale's dedication, players of any age and ability are welcomed into Chelsea Community FC and given the opportunity to represent the club in competitive disability leagues and cups both at home and abroad. He has put his heart and soul into providing disabled players with new and exciting opportunities to play football. Every player is a valued individual and every player is encouraged to be the best they can be.

A focal point of the day will see the Buckingham Palace garden host its first ever football match, featuring two of the oldest amateur clubs in England. The game, which will be an official Southern Amateur League fixture, will be played between Civil Service FC, the sole surviving club from the 11 that met to create The FA in 1863, and Polytechnic FC.

Seale was delighted to be selected. 'It's a huge honour to be recognised in this way,' he said. 'I'm passionate about providing opportunities to get disabled people enjoying sport. I've always believed that sport can play a really important part in enriching people's lives and bringing them together.'

HRH The Duke of Cambridge, president of The Football Association, said: 'In our 150th year, it is hugely important for The FA to honour the efforts of the many thousands of volunteers who week in, week out, help to provide the opportunity for millions more people to enjoy football at grassroots level. Inviting 150 of these volunteers to Buckingham Palace provides a fitting way for The FA to pay tribute and give thanks.'

Greg Dyke, chairman of The Football Association, said: 'These volunteers are the heartbeat of football. Without them, the game simply wouldn't function at a grassroots level and it is only right that The FA honours their tireless and selfless work. We are delighted that, in his role as President of The FA, HRH The Duke of Cambridge has given his support to this initiative - even going as far as arranging for the first-ever game of football to be played at Buckingham Palace in honour of our grassroots heroes.'