Football 5-a-side

Played by visually impaired athletes, 5-a-side Football is an action-packed spectacle.
The first national 5-a-side Championships took place in Spain in 1986.

Key facts

Venue: Olympic Park – Hockey Centre
Dates: Friday 31 August – Saturday 8 September 2012
Medal events: 1
Athletes: 64 (all men; eight teams)

One of two forms of Football on the Paralympic programme, 5-a-side Football is a thrilling, fast-moving spectacle. Played by visually impaired athletes using a ball with a noise-making device inside, the sport offers skill and drama in equal measure, with eight teams battling for gold at the new Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park.

The basics

Matches are played between two teams, each with four outfield players and a goalkeeper. The outfield players are visually impaired, and wear eyeshades to ensure fairness; however, the goalkeeper may be fully or partially sighted. The pitch is surrounded with a rebound wall; the sport is played with no throw-ins and no offside rule, which ensures non-stop action. Matches are played over two halves of 25 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for half-time.

The Paralympic tournament will feature eight men’s teams, initially two groups of four teams in a round-robin format. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the semi-finals, with the winning semi-finalists going head to head for the gold.

Football 5-a-side at the Paralympic Games, past and present

5-a-side Football made its Paralympic debut at Athens in 2004. At London 2012, all matches will be played at the brand new Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park, which will stage both the 5-a-side and 7-a-side Football competitions on alternating days.

Jargon buster

– Countdown: During the last two minutes of each half, the clock is stopped for free kicks, kick-ins, goal clearances and corner kicks.
-Extra time: If a match in the knockout stages is tied at the end of 50 minutes, the teams play 10 minutes of extra time in a bid to find a winner.
– Guides’ areas: 
The pitch is divided into thirds, with each team allowed one guide for each third of the pitch to call out instructions: the attacking third; the midfield third, for which the team’s coach is the guide; and the defensive third, for which the goalkeeper serves as the guide.
– Pitch: The playing area, measuring 42m x 22m.

Get involved

To find out more about grassroots development programmes, visit the websites of the FAthe Scottish FAthe Football Association of Wales and the Irish FA, all of which organise opportunities for athletes with a disability.

It’s easy to get started – you can find a local club through the Disability Footballclub directory, by contacting your county Football association or on the Parasport website. The international governing body for the sport, the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), is also a good resource.

Football 5-a-side at Athens 2004
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~ by superbowlnyc on June 13, 2011.

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