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(International Blind Sports Federation)
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History of IBSA

The first years

The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) was founded in Paris in 1981 as a non-profit-making organisation. The founding congress was held at UNESCO headquarters in the French capital, and was attended by 30 countries.

IBSA's status as a legal entity was formalised in 1985 with the adoption of its first constitution during the general assembly held in Hurdal, Norway. The original constitution was revised and amended at several assemblies, including in June 1997 at the 5th General Assembly in Casablanca and the 7th assembly in Beijing, China, in 2005. 

Caption: the original IBSA logo (black and white)

Caption: the original IBSA logo in colour (blue and yellow)

IBSA was registered at the Spanish National Sports Council (CSD) from March 1996 until the beginning of 2014, when the federation's legal domicile was transferred to Bonn, Germany.

IBSA's current constitution and by-laws were adopted following the move to Germany.

IBSA is a full and founding member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the umbrella governing body for the Paralympic Games, and is an active and leading member of the Paralympic movement.

IBSA's main aim is to organise sports competitions and activities that enable blind and partially sighted sportsmen and sportswomen to compete in equal conditions with their peers. This is achieved through the work of IBSA's governing body, the Executive Board, and its Sports Technical Committees.

IBSA firmly believes it is essential that the visually impaired sports movement has its own identity and that there is an international federation working to promote sports specifically for blind and partially sighted boys, girls, men and women. One of IBSA's goals is to remain a strong organisation: with over 100 member countries from all five continents and a considerable presence in many parts of the world, we are securing this objective.

The Executive Board is IBSA's governing body; priority in our actions and the use of resources is generally given to countries where blind sports programmes do not exist or  are in need of support. IBSA also strives to promote sports through various communications strategies, training programmes and institutional relationships with governments and other authorities.

Key goals

IBSA's purpose is:
  • to foster friendship among blind athletes;
  • to motivate and get as many blind people as possible involved in sporting activities on a regular basis;
  • to promote and disseminate the ideas underlying both competition and recreational sport for the blind;
  • to defend the Olympic and Paralympic ideals and act in accordance with their principles,
  • to promote the aims and ideas of IBSA at schools for the blind and among blind youngsters in general;
  • to plan, promote and co-ordinate international events and activities with a view to stimulating greater development of sporting programmes for the blind in every country, including international sports meetings, seminars and conferences on questions related to sports for the blind;
  • to disseminate relevant information and arrange international exchange programmes for people linked to the world of blind sports and the sports advisors and officials of those organisations;
  • to establish universally accepted rules for blind sports;
  • to establish a register of records;
  • to provide assistance to those institutions and individuals who work in the field of blind sports;
  • to act as the maximum authority in all cases, except where the decision depends on a jury at an international competition.


Caption: IBSA 25th anniversary logo

IBSA Silver Jubilee

IBSA celebrated its silver jubilee (25th anniversary) in 2006. To mark the occasion, a specially-designed logo was created and used at several IBSA events during the year, and a gala dinner in honour of IBSA presidents was held in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday the 30th of September.

IBSA General Assemblies

  • April 1981 - Paris, France
  • 27th - 29th May 1985, Hurdal, Norway
  • 2nd - 4th June 1989, Formia, Italy
  • 24th - 26th June 1993, San José, Costa Rica
  • 14th - 16th June 1997, Casablanca, Morocco
  • 13th - 15th September 2001, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • 9th - 11th June 2005, Beijing, China
  • 3rd - 4th April 2009, Antalya, Turkey
  • 31st August - 1st September 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 27th - 28th October 2017, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • 4th - 7th July 2019, Fort Wayne, USA
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