Despite the lack of competitions recently, the IBSA Football Committee has been busy planning for the coming years. As 2020 was virtually a wash-out in terms of tournaments, the blind football calendar has been modified from 2021 until the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games
to offer the maximum number of top-level competition opportunities to as many countries worldwide as possible.
This year’s major men’s event will be the Tokyo Paralympic Games
in August, postponed from last year. Eight of the top teams representing four continents will gather in the Japanese capital for the Football 5-a-side competition
at the games, which open on Tuesday August 24th. The blind football competition kicks off at the Aomi Urban Sports Park on Sunday August 29th, with the medal matches on Saturday September 4th.
2021 will also see a major landmark for women’s blind football when the first IBSA Blind Football Women’s World Championships
take place in Nigeria at the end of this year. Entries for the championships will open soon.
Also on this year’s calendar are the World Grand Prix in Tokyo (dates to be confirmed), the Euro Challenge Cup, an invitational development tournament for new, emerging European nations, and the European Championships Division 2
in Romania in October, a qualifier for the top division.
The other regional championships, originally scheduled for this year, will now be pushed back to 2022. As before, they will serve as qualifiers for the 16-team world championships, which will now be played in 2023 at the IBSA World Games
in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The World Games will also host the second edition of the women’s world championships and the partially sighted world championships.
A new event in 2023 will be offered to teams which do not qualify for the 2023 World Championships – the IBSA Blind Football World Championships Group B – with the aim of extending playing opportunities to ten more teams and with qualification also via the 2022 regional championships.
In addition, blind football will feature on the programme at multi-disability events such as the Asian Para Games
in Hangzhou, China, in October 2022, and the 2023 Parapan American Games
The World Grand Prix is also expected to remain one of the biggest annual events on the calendar through to 2024.
Caption: action shot showing two women players disputing possession by the sideboards.
IBSA Football Committee chair Ulrich Pfisterer said of the competition calendar: “In special times like these we need to respond appropriately to the coronavirus. We hereby present to our Blind Football community a concise, modified competition calendar, leading to the Paralympics Paris in 2024.”
“I am also excited to see the very first IBSA Women´s Blind Football World Championships, an event which had to be postponed to 2021. As it works out, this delay may become an advantage, giving emerging countries more time to prepare. We are also happy to see the Division 2 European Championships becoming an integral event on our calendar.”
“With this modified competition schedule until 2024, the Blind Football community can now plan budgets and programmes. I am sure they were eagerly awaiting this information.”
IBSA Blind Football competition calendar 2021-2024*
Dates to be confirmed (TBC) - World Grand Prix, Tokyo, Japan.
June – Euro Challenge Cup, Stockholm, Sweden
August/September - Paralympic Games, Tokyo, Japan.
October - European Championships Division 2, Bucharest, Romania.
November/December - Women's World Championships, Enugu, Nigeria.
Dates and venue TBC - World Grand Prix.
Dates and venue TBC - African Championships
Dates and venue TBC - American Championships
Dates and venue TBC - Asian Championships
Dates and venue TBC - Central American Championships
Dates and venue TBC - European Championships Division 1.
October - Asian Para Games, Hangzhou, China.
Dates and venue TBC - World Grand Prix.
August - Men’s World Championships, Women’s World Championships, Partially Sighted World Championships, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
November - Parapan American Games, Santiago, Chile.
August/September – Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
* As of January 2021 and subject to modification by IBSA should circumstances require.