Our national pastime, football is a sport that welcomes people from any background and with any level of ability.

Adaptations of the game are available for those with vision impairments and lower limb impairments, and the beautiful game is perfect for keeping fit, making friends and having a lot of fun.

Football 7-a-side is open to male athletes with Cerebral Palsy who are classified in ambulant classes five, six, seven and eight, of which class five players have the highest level of impairment. Teams must include at least one player from either class five or six.

The rules are modified from 11-a-side football in that the playing field is smaller, there is no offside rule and throw-ins can be made with only one hand. Matches are played in two 30 minute halves with a 15 minute interval.

Football 5-a-side at Paralympic level is open to athletes with a B1 level of visual impairment. Players who are classified as B2 or B3 should discuss their eligibility with the FA (contact details below). All players with the exception of the goalkeeper wear “black-out” masks to ensure fairness.

The ball contains a bell, which allows players to hear the direction it is travelling in and the goalkeeper is allowed to give verbal guidance to his team. There is an additional guide behind the opponent’s goal to direct the players when they shoot. The field of play is smaller than in non-disabled football and there is no offside rule. The matches are played in two halves of 25 minutes each with a 10 minute interval.

5-a-side football is played in 21 countries.

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