- Date: 17-08-2020
- Related to: Football
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football has revealed a fresh new look for its competition calendar on the road to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
With many competitions cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport has responded by making some exciting changes and additions for the next four years.
The blind football World Championships – scheduled for 2022 - will now be held in 2023 in a location due to be announced on Tuesday (18 August).
Regional Championships in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas will now be held in one year later in 2022.
Next, all teams from around the world will be given the chance compete in 2021 with the addition of a one-off ‘Kick-Out Coronavirus Cup’.
Finally the IBSA Blind Football Committee has revealed the addition of a Group B World Championships. This is designed to allow teams who aspire to compete at the current IBSA Blind Football World Championships the chance to do so in the same year. The first edition will take place in 2023.
Ulrich Pfisterer, Chairperson of the IBSA Blind Football Committee, said: “This year has been difficult and strange for the blind football community. At the start of year everyone expected to be in the final stages of preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics at this point.
“In response to that and the postponement of the Paralympic Games, we have created what we hope is a good competition calendar which offers teams something to work towards and look forward to.
“The Kick-Out Coronavirus Cup is designed specifically to show the world that football is a universal language that unites us all against adversity. The postponement of Tokyo 2020 meant we had to go back to the drawing board with the schedule for 2021 and the following years, so wanted to offer all teams the chance to play on the international stage again after an extended break.
“Everyone is excited to get back on the pitch when it is safe to do so and we will be doing that as soon as possible.”
Other changes and additions to the calendar include the latest edition of the IBSA Blind Football World Grand Prix in 2021. This will be open for all teams qualified for Tokyo 2020 and will offer classification.
The European Championships Division Two will also take place in 2021. Two teams will be promoted.
In 2022 the World Grand Prix will be held once again but this time with a difference. It will offer one team the chance to qualify for the World Championships for the first time in its history.