IBSA World Blind Football Championships.
Football connects people from all areas of life - and exploring different ways that communities and countries interact with football is a really inspiring subject. None more so than the IBSA World Blind Football Championships.
The first recorded games of blind football date back past the 1920s in the playgrounds of Blind Schools. A ball could be placed into a plastic bag or other to allow it to make noise as it moved. This later developed into the current size 3 match ball which has small bell-like ball bearings inside making noise that aids the players.
In the late 80s, friendly international games began to get introduced and a set of rules established. At this time some countries were playing 11 a side, while others played futsal on cement.
Registered as an official IBSA sport in 1995, developing Blind Football worldwide with a unified system and set of rules was the natural next steps in the process.
- 4 blind players, with 1 fully sighted goalkeeper on the pitch.
- Maximum of 8 outfield players and 2 goalkeepers as part of the squad.
- 2 halves of 20 minutes.
- 6 substitutions in each half, and allowing 4 at half time.
The pitch is a 40x20 futsal size with boards, and the goal size reflective of field hockey goals. Different guide systems can be used throughout the game, for example: If a player is challenging for the ball they must say so. The coach and goalkeeper can guide players throughout the game as well as each team having a player behind the oppositions goals as a guide.
In 1998 the first official championships were held in Brazil, with local qualifying games between countries ahead of the tournament. The final saw Brazil crowned as the first official World Blind Football Champions in a 1-0 victory over Argentina. Since then, the championships have been held in Spain, Argentina, England and Tokyo.
The sport has developed greatly since it’s beginnings, and with the first Women’s World Blind Football Championships set to be held in Nigeria in 2021, it continues to stay contemporary and open itself to different audiences of fans, supporters and participators internationally.