Topend Sports Logo

Football 7-a-side at the Paralympic Games

Football 7-a-side was first included in the Paralympic Games in 1984 in New York. However, Football 7-a-side was dropped from the Paralympic program for Tokyo 2021.

The sport is open to athletes with cerebral palsy, and is quite similar to able-bodied football, with just a few modifications. Rather than 11 players in each team, there is seven. Every athlete in the competition is ranked between 5 and 8 according to their impairment, with 5 being the highest class of impairment. Every team must feature a certain number of players from each class, with at least one player from class 5 or 6.

Athletes in class 5 have difficulty in dynamic movements like turning and pivoting. They will see exertion have the most effect on their functionality, out of all the classes. The level of impairment increases with class number. Athletes in class 8 may appear to be able-bodied, but will experience tremors or small joint movements. This affects their game and leads to poor balance, co-ordination and hesitation.

Football 7-a-side at the Paralympic GamesFootball 7-a-side at the Paralympic Games

The field and goalposts are much smaller in comparison to that in able-bodied football. There is no off-side rule, and throw-ins must be taken with one hand in order to make it fair. Each game lasts 1 hour, with 30 minutes a half.

The competition is in a group round-robin format, the top two teams from each group will proceed to the knockout stages.

The most successful 7-a-side team has been the Netherlands. They won the title in 1988 and defended it until 1996.

Related Pages

send us a comment Any comments, suggestions, or corrections? Please let us know.

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.

 → How to Cite