Statistics released by IBSA show how blind football is expanding and growing globally to become one of the most popular Paralympic sports in the world.
Data compiled from all the official IBSA 2017 international blind football championships show a significant increase in the number of countries taking part in the events and an expansion of the game to reach new parts of the world.
December saw the IBSA Blind Football Asian Championships
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the last in the year’s regional and sub-regional IBSA blind football tournaments. The series of events kicked off in Berlin in August with the Europeans
, then moved on to Cape Verde for the African championships
The first ever Central American sub-regional championships
, held in Guatemala in November, were next, followed by the American championships (Copa América) in Chile
and culminating in the Asian Championships.
In addition, Europe held a qualifier for its championships in April in Romania
due to the large number of countries competing in blind football in the continent. This was the first ever qualifying event for any IBSA Blind Football regional championships. The ASEAN Para Games in September
also featured blind football and there were a number of international friendly tournaments involving more teams.
A total of 36 national teams competed in IBSA’s regional championships and qualifiers in 2017, an incredible 71% increase on the corresponding figure for 2013 (21 nations) and a highly significant 28% increase on the number for 2015 (28 countries).
Number of countries participating in IBSA continental and sub-continental championships in 2017 (by region)
Central America 5
Rest of America 6
The Football Committee will release its updated IBSA Blind Football World Ranking table in the next few days.
Caption: Russia celebrates winning the IBSA Blind Football European Championships in Berlin, Germany, in August 2017.