As one of the most popular sports in the UK, it’s important that football is inclusive, accessible and available to anyone who wants to play. Here are some of the main ways in which various adaptations make the sport accessible to as many men, women and children as possible.
Wheelchair football is well-established in the UK and there are many clubs around the country. The game is played indoors and uses a 33cm football. Matches are 40 minutes long (split into two 20-minute halves) and push-ins are used in place of throw-ins. Players use powerchairs and only two players from the defending side are allowed in the penalty area at one time.
Blind and partially sighted football
Players are classified by their sight level: B1, 2 or 3. The rules are different for blind and partially sighted players. In blind football, the ball makes a sound as it moves, enabling players to locate its exact position. The off-side rule is not used, and the game takes place on a solid surface. While the goalkeeper is sighted, he is not allowed to leave his area.
Partially sighted football uses a ball that bounces less than regular balls.
Cerebral palsy football
Players either play standing or seated, and those who play from a seated position will play wheelchair football. Standing players play two halves of 30 minutes each and are allowed to use both throw-ins and roll-ins to return the ball to play.
How the FA gets involved
English football’s governing body, the FA, aims to increase participation in disability football via a range of initiatives. Disability football used to get very little attention, but new programmes and organisations launched in the late 1990s have helped to make it more accessible and increased media and public attention for this growing sport.
If you’re involved in a disability team, or thinking of setting one up, reputable retailers such as https://www.kitking.co.uk offer a variety of Discount football kits to save you splashing out for expensive kits. Obtaining discounts on bulk kit orders is a great way to stretch your team budget.
There are also clubs and associations for hearing impaired footballers, as well as for those with learning disabilities. Some partially sighted players may play in pan-disability teams, as may players with other disabilities.