"Played by millions of people across the globe..."

David Beckham tries his hand at blind football (London 2012) 91
David Beckham tries his hand at blind football (London 2012)

Perhaps the world’s best loved sport, Football is played by millions of people across the globe, whether just in the local park or a national stadium.

At the moment only Football 7-a-side for athletes with cerebral palsy and Football 5-a-side for athletes with a visual impairment are included in the Paralympic programme. However, there are also national teams for other classifications, including Amputee Football.

Football 7-a-side is open to ambulant male athletes with cerebral palsy, classified class 5 to class 8 depending on impairment level. The rules are the same as in the non-disabled game except that the pitch is slightly smaller, there is no offside rule, and throw-ins can only be made using one hand. Matches are played in two 30-minute halves with a 15-minute interval.

Football 5-a-side is open to athletes with a visual impairment. Although classification is broken down into classes  – B3, B2, and B1 having the least vision – all players with the exception of the goalkeeper wear ‘black-out’ masks to ensure all participants can compete equally.

The goalkeeper for each 5-a-side team is fully-sighted and  instructs his team. Along with the goalkeeper, there is an additional guide behind the opposition’s goal who can give the team instructions. A specially designed ball makes a noise when it moves, allowing the players to track it. As with the 7-a-side game, the field of play is smaller than in non-disabled football and there is no offside rule.

The 5-a-side match is played in two halves of 25 minutes each, with a 10-minute interval and the 7-a-side game is played in two halves of 30 minutes each.

Enter your postcode into our Find a Club tool, to find your nearest disability football club. 

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