Madrid, Spain, has been selected as host city for the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships.
The WC will be the first to feature 16 national blind football teams, up from 12 at the 2014 WC in Tokyo, Japan, and a clear sign of the game’s growth and development.
The initial format (subject to modification) sees a first stage featuring four groups of four teams, with the top two teams in each group qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The 2018 tournament will be the seventh world championships and Spain stages the event for the first time since 2000.
Organised by the Spanish Blind Sports Federation
(FEDC), the tournament has already received strong backing from a number of key institutions, including the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind
(ONCE) and the National Sports Council (CSD), the maximum authority for sport in the country.
The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships will be held from June 17th to 25th, with sight classification prior to opening.
The venue for the event is the ONCE Duques de Pastrana Sport and Culture Complex
in the north-east of the city, just 13km from the airport. The complex features a wide range of facilities, including an indoor sports hall, a 500-seat auditorium, large gardens and a fully-equipped fitness area. Most importantly, it boasts two artificial grass blind football pitches.
Caption: the venue for the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships.
Accommodation for players, support staff and officials will be at the at the four-star Ilunion Pío XII Hotel, just 700 metres from the venue.
Ángel Luis Gómez, FEDC President, thanked IBSA for placing its trust in Spain to host the WC, with a new format involving 16 teams: "For us it’s a big challenge and an exciting one that places Spain at the heart of blind sports as an international benchmark once again. At the same time, it’s a big responsibility because we want each and every participant to enjoy the competition and take away some fond memories of their stay in Spain.”
“However, we’re not alone in this ambitious project: the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind (ONCE), ONCE Foundation and Ilunion, their business group, are by our side, and we also have support from both public authorities and key private-sector bodies and companies. Starting from today we’ll be working hard to ensure the IBSA Blind Football World Championships 2018 are a huge success”, added the FEDC President.
IBSA Football Committee Chairman Ulrich Pfisterer expressed his delight at the decision: “I’m very pleased to see Madrid staging the Blind Football World Championships 2018. It’s very important to have different continents sharing this prestigious event, and Tokyo did a great job in 2014.”
“Spain was instrumental in bringing blind football to Europe and developing it here. They have great facilities and I am confident their hospitality and organisational skills will be top quality.”
Previous IBSA Blind Football World Championships:
1998 Campinas (Brazil)
2000 Jerez de la Frontera (Spain)
2002 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
2006 Buenos Aires (Argentina)
2010 Hereford (Great Britain)
2014 Tokyo (Japan)
Brazil has won the championships four times (1998, 2000, 2010 and 2014) and Argentina has two world titles (2002 and 2006). Click here
to check out results from the previous events.
Caption: the Brazilian team acknowledges the crowd after winning the 2014 IBSA Blind Football World Championships in Tokyo