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Football - General information

Football for the blind and partially sighted started out as a playground game for school children in special schools for the visually impaired. It has now become one of the most popular sports for people with a visual impairment worldwide.

The game was taken up in several countries, each playing according to its local rules (different balls and pitches were used, rules varied from country to country, etc.). Many countries, such as Spain and Brazil, set up national championships, and soon countries began to organise the first friendly international matches.

Caption: a Chinese player dribbles in a match against Argentina at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Blind football - or futsal, as it is also known - joined IBSA in 1996 when the federation decided to take the game on board. The first task was to agree and approve internationally recognised  rules.

With a set of rules in place, the first IBSA European Championships were held in Barcelona, Spain, and the first American Championships took place in Asunción in Paraguay, in 1997.

Since then official IBSA regional and world championships have been held regularly and international friendly tournaments such as the IBSA Cup are a regular feature on the blind futsal calendar.

Brazil are the current IBSA Blind Football World Champions, having won in Tokyo in 2014. Brazil has won four IBSA world titles and Argentina two.

Caption: Jefinho scores for Brazil to win the 2014 IBSA World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

The next world championships will take place in Madrid, Spain, in June 2018.

IBSA has two types of football - B1 for footballers who are completely blind, and B2/B3 for players who are partially sighted.

Caption: link to blind football highlights at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Blind football has become one of the biggest sports on the Paralympic Games programme following its debut at the Athens 2004 games. This was recognised at the London 2012 Paralympic Games when the number of teams taking part rose from six to eight. Blind football was one of the most popular sports at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where hosts Brazil won gold for the fourth time running.  

Blind football enjoys support from UEFA for its development activities in Europe. 

Caption: Blind football at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. A wide-angle shot of the venue with a game in play.
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