Goalball UK has appointed a business development manager to build on its considerable progress and support further expansion.

Steve Ferres, previously managing director of the Bradford Bulls, has spent over 20 years in sports management following a Rugby League career with Bradford Northern.

In this newly created role, he will be responsible for identifying partnerships and opportunities for income generation as well as developing existing revenue sources.

Steve said: “It is a huge honour to join Goalball UK at this incredibly exciting time. The sport has made remarkable progress and it vital that this is maintained.

“I have already seen the huge impact goalball has on the lives of the blind and visually impaired people that are involved, as well as their friends and family. I am tremendously excited to help deliver the resources to sustain and extend opportunities created for players and volunteers.”

Since the London games in 2012, participation has grown 425%, bucking the overall trend in Paralympic and able-bodied sport, with the number of clubs nationwide doubling. At elite level, the women’s GB team have secured their position in the IBSA Europe A League, potentially placing them on track for Tokyo 2020.

Goalball UK narrowly missed out on financial support from UK Sport for its elite teams. However, it did receive a record £1.5m funding from Sport England in recognition of how their grassroots and talent development programmes genuinely transform lives.

Mark Winder, CEO of Goalball UK, said: “Had the sport not made the great strides it has, we might have struggled to attract someone of Steve’s calibre and experience.

“He is here to support us securing the resources we need to make the positive difference involvement with Goalball makes.

“With our profile and outlook expanded it has never been more important, especially when future founding from national bodies is less certain.

“With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, it is also essential that our GB teams are able to regularly train and compete internationally.”