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Football 5-a-side at the Paralympic Games - for the visually impaired

Football 5-a-side first became a part of the Paralympic Games at the Athens 2004 competition. The sport is open to all athletes with visual impairments, who must wear blindfolds to ensure a level playing field for all athletes. Each team has five players, with four players who have a B1 visual impairment and a goalkeeper who can be sighted or visually impaired. Each team also has five substitutes. Goalkeepers cannot leave their penalty box, but they can guide and instruct their teammates. Each team has a guide behind the opponent’s goal to direct players where to shoot.

The pitch has a rebound wall, which means there are no throw-ins or off-sides, creating a fast-paced, smooth flowing game. The game lasts for a total of 50 minutes, with 25 minutes per half and a 10-minute half time break. The athletes play with a special ball, which makes a noise when it moves, in order to guide the players.

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Players must shout the word ‘voy’ before trying to tackle a player, this keeps the player aware of their surroundings, and helps to prevent injury. Any player who commits a foul on 5 consecutive occasions, will be disqualified from the game.

In non-disabled football, Brazil are always one of the teams to beat. With 5 world cups under their belt, they have dominated the scene. It is no different in 5-a-side-football at the Paralympic Games. Brazil earned their crown in 2004, and have defended it ever since (including Tokyo 2020). Proving that they really are a great footballing nation.

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Paralympics Extra

The next Summer Paralympics will be in Paris 2024, followed by the 2026 Winter Paralympics. Also, check out the list of Paralympic sports, and top medal winners.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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