What is Blind Football?
Blind Football is an adapted version of futsal and the only format currently included in the Paralympic Games. Blind Players can safely participate in blind-specific football only. Within this pathway there are casual opportunities and more formal club and league-based football for blind players to participate.
Who can play Blind Football?
To play internationally, players must be classified as B1. Players will range from having no light perception to some light perception, but not enough to recognise shapes of different objects.
Domestically, the National Blind Football League have introduced a B1b classification. This allows partially sighted players with a low B2 classification to participate in the league.
Sight classification is based on two things: visual acuity and visual field. Visual acuity is the ability to identify letters or numbers on a standardised eye chart from a specific viewing distance. Visual field is the entire range of sight including peripheral vision. To find out more about sight classification click HERE.
Goalkeepers are fully sighted.
Blind Football Rules
FIFA futsal laws are used with some key adaptions:
• 40m x 20m pitch
• Players must shout “voy” before engaging with an opponent
• Teams can commit up to five fouls per half – each one after that results in an eight-metre penalty
• Two halves of 20 minutes (clock stops when the ball is out of play)
• All outfield players must wear eye patching and an eye mask to ensure a level playing field (some may have a little light perception)
• 5v5 (maximum squad size of 10)
• Goalkeepers must stay within a small, restricted area
• If goalkeepers are looking to distribute the ball to a teammate in the opposition half, it must bounce before the halfway line
• Spectators must remain silent – this is so players can hear the rattling ball and echoes from the kickboards, as well as verbal instructions from coaches and sighted guides
You can find the full laws of the game HERE.
Talent & Elite
There are opportunities for talented Blind Players (both male & female) to progress in the England Talent Pathway. For more information on the England Talent Pathway please follow the link to the Para Football Performance Pathway HERE
There is currently a men’s national squad competing in international fixtures, and a new Female National squad in place too. For more information on these squads, please follow the link to the England Para Teams page HERE.
National Disability Sports Organisations
The National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are a good starting point for many disabled people who want to be more active. They provide advice, support and opportunities for people of all ages with specific impairments.
The NDSO for blind athletes is British Blind Sport. For more information on British Blind Sport please click HERE.
See Sport Differently
See Sport Differently is a new Sport England-funded initiative that aims to break down barriers in sport and increase opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to participate in physical activity. British Blind Sport are working in partnership with The FA and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) until 2024 to increase the opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to participate in sport, raise awareness of sight loss across the sports sector and workforce, improve accessibility across sports venues and encourage 25,000 more blind and partially sighted people to get involved in sport.
For more information on the See Sport Differently initiative please click HERE.
How to get Involved in Blind Football
Click here to access the Find Football tool and answer the questions to narrow down your search requirements so you can discover the most suitable playing opportunities local to you.
If you cannot find a suitable playing opportunity or would like to speak to someone, please contact your local County FA.
FA Disability Cup - Blind
Para Football Performance Pathway
England Para Teams