What is Blind football?
Blind football is an adapted version of football for athletes with a vision impairment.
Ball bearings in the ball make a noise when moving, which allows players to locate the ball.
History of Blind football
Blind football (previously known as Football 5-a-side) was first introduced to the Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004. The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) has governed the sport since 1996.
Football for the blind and partially sighted began life in schools for people visual impairments.
The Spanish played a version of Blind football as early as the 1920s. Brazil began playing in the 1960s, with the first national Championships being held in 1974.
Today, World Championships take place every 4 years, in between the Paralympic Games.
How do you play Blind football?
Blind football is played with modified FIFA rules, with 5 players making up each team.
Every player in the team must wear eyeshades except the goalkeeper who must be sighted and act as a guide throughout the duration of the game.
The playing field is also much smaller than a standard football field (40m long and 20m wide) and there are no offside rulings.
Matches last 30 minutes, divided into two 15-minute halves. A team can request a 1-minute timeout in each half. The timekeeper must stop the clock for a free kick, kick-in, goal kick and corner kick during the last two minutes of both halves, and in case of an extra time.
Who can play Blind football?
This sport is open to Para athletes with a visual impairment.
Outfield players must be classified as completely blind (B1 category), which means they have very low visual acuity and/or no light perception, whilst the goalkeeper must be sighted or partially sighted (B2 or B3 category).
Blind football in New Zealand
Blind football is not currently played widely in New Zealand, but register your interest now and we will help you to find a Para sport for you in your local area!
List of sports for athletes with a visual impairment
- Para alpine skiing
- Para athletics
- Para biathlon
- Blind football
- Para cross country skiing
- Para cycling
- Para equestrian
- Para judo
- Para rowing
- Para sailing
- Para swimming
- Para triathlon
You can also find other sports for athletes with a visual impairment on Blind Sport New Zealand’s website.
For more information visit the International Blind Sports Federation.