Football 5-a-side at the Paralympic Games

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 5 players, with 4 players who have a B1 visual impairment and a goalkeeper who can be sighted or visually impaired. Each team also has 5 substitutes. Goalkeepers cannot leave their penalty box, but they can guide and instruct their teammates. Each time has a guide behind the opponent’s goal, to direct players where to shoot.

The pitch is 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.

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. Proving that they really are a great footballing nation.

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