By Madrid 2018
A total of 130 players - with 32 sighted goalkeepers - will compete from 7-17 June at the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships in Madrid, Spain.
An official presentation was held on Thursday (31 May) in the host city where the 16 national teams and blind football were introduced to the public and media at the City Hall.
Eli Pinedo, consultant for the Presidency Office of the Superior Board of Sports; Francisco Javier Odriozola, General Manager for Sports at City Hall; Miguel Carballeda, President of the ONCE Social Group; and Ángel Luis Gómez, President of the Spanish Federation for Blind Sports and the Local Organising Committee of Madrid 2018 were all present.
Enrique Cerezo, President of Atlético de Madrid; Raúl Martín Presa, President of Rayo Vallecano; and Rafael García Cortés, Coordinator of the Real Madrid Foundation, also attended.
In addition to the players, who will arrive in Madrid from Monday (4 June), guides, managers and medical staff will bring the number of Championships participants to more than 300 people.
Over 11 days the best blind football players in the world will compete at the Colegio Sagrado Corazón of Chamartín in 44 matches. The inaugural game will be on 7 June at 18:00 (local time) featuring Spain v Thailand.
In his speech Francisco Javier Odiozola wished the Spanish national team luck, adding that “it’s a big honour for us to celebrate a World Cup with of this importance for Madrid. It’s a victory for the city.”
Jesús Bargueiras, Spain’s manager, and Adolfo Acosta, one of the captains of the team, said they were “absolutely ready for the World Cup.”
“Our main goal is to win the world trophy. The players are ready and have been working with a lot of excitement. We will also have the support of our fans,” said Bargueiras.
Carballeda also presented the special edition of ONCE’s lottery ticket for the World Championships, to be sold on 17 June during the last day of competition. More than five million coupons will travel around Spain with the logo of the tournament.
After the presentation, the players of the national team alongside their technical staff, took part in a demonstration event with penalty shoot-outs, dribbling and passing.
The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships will feature 16 of the world’s best teams – the biggest number in history. As well as the title on offer the competition is also an important step on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
After the Opening Ceremony and match on 7 June, the group stages get underway in earnest on 8 June. The quarter finals and play-offs begin on 13 June with the final taking place on 17 June.
Entry is free to spectators.