What is Cerebral Palsy Football?
This format is often referred to as 'CP football' or 'football seven-a-side'. It's played by individuals who have cerebral palsy or another neurological disorder that has resulted in physical impairment. This includes a stroke or traumatic brain injury. CP players can (and do) play mainstream, pan-disability, and CP-specific football. Within these pathways, players can take part in casual opportunities or more formal club and league-based football.
About Cerebral Palsy Football
Who can play Cerebral Palsy Football?
In CP Football, players are ambulant – meaning they can move unaided. However, based on their range of movement and the location of their impairment, they’re assigned a classification. This ranges from FT1 (significant impairment) to FT3 (minimal impairment). To ensure fair competition, there’s a limit to the number of players from each classification allowed on the pitch at any one time. There must be at least one FT1 and a maximum of one FT3 player. If a team doesn’t field an FT1 player, they must play with one less player.
Cerebral Palsy Football Rules
The laws of the game are based on FIFA 11-a-side laws with several key adaptions to support people with a physical impairment.
• Maximum pitch size of 75m x 55m pitch
• 7v7 (maximum squad size of 14)
• Two halves of 30 minutes
• 5m x 2m goalposts
• No offside
• Throw-in and roll-ins are allowed – roll-ins help players with hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body)
You can find the full laws of the game HERE.
Talent & Elite
There are opportunities for talented CP Players (both male & female) to progress in the England Talent Pathway. For more information on the England Talent Pathway please click here.
The FA supports a men’s national squad competing in international fixtures with a new female national squad in development. For more information on these squads please click here.
National Sports Disability 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 Cerebral Palsy athletes is CP Sport.
The FA works closely with CP Sport to develop more opportunities for people with cerebral palsy to have access to preferred formats of football. The FA funds the National CP Football Development Officer role within CP Sport, who works with the County FA’s to develop new opportunities to play CP specific football.
For more information on the CP Sport Partnership in football please click HERE.
How to get involved in CP 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.
Casual Playing Opportunities
Casual playing opportunities exist within the disability pathway to make it easier than ever to get involved. The FA’s National Participation programmes are listed below and are inclusive for disabled people to participate. Disability specific sessions also exist within each of these programmes if a non-disability session is not for you.
Weetabix is non-competitive football for girls aged 5-11 who want to give it a go for the very first time or want to play with other girls their own age. Most importantly, Weetabix Wildcats is all about having loads of fun and meeting new amazing friends. To find out more click here.
Comets is a recreational, pan-disability football programme for disabled boys and girls aged between 5 and 11. It provides a safe space for disabled children to play football and offers a new, flexible and inclusive way of playing. It's football that breaks the old rules and replaces them with a brand new one: JUST BE YOU. To find out more, click here.
Squad Girls' Football
Squad Girls' Football provides girls aged 12-14 with the opportunity to play football their way. Sessions focus on having fun, making friends and developing core skills such as leadership and confidence. To find out more click here.
Just Play is for men and women of all abilities aged 16+ that just want to play football. There’s no need to join a team, play in a league or commit to training in all weathers. Just book online and turn up for a kick about. To find out more click here.
Other disability specific casual opportunities exist across the country for boys aged 5-16 and girls aged 12-16. To find these sessions please use the Find Football tool.
There are three pathways CP Players can follow to get started within grassroots football: mainstream football, pan-disability football, and CP football.
CP players can (and do) play in mainstream clubs and leagues.
Pan-Disability teams allow players with a broad spectrum of impairments to play together including CP Players. There are now over 2000 affiliated disability teams within England. These teams provide an environment in which players can play competitively on a regular basis. Pan-Disability Leagues form the foundation of the disability competition structure and there is now a network of over 40 localised pan-disability leagues across England.
The National CP Football League is coordinated by a voluntary committee who are supported by CP Sport. This national league runs monthly fixtures and consists of CP teams from across the country. For more information on the National CP Football League please click HERE.
FA Disability Cup - Cerebral Palsy
International Federation of CP Football
International Federation of CP Football
Coaching Disabled Footballers: Courses, CPD and Resources
Para Football Performance Pathway