Football 5-a-side

Football 5-a-side is played by people who are completely blind or unable to distinguish the shape of a hand. The sport was created in the 1920s in Spain, at specialized schools and institutes.

Although it has existed for a long time, the discipline only joined the Paralympic programme at the Athens 2004 Games. The first world championship took place in Paulínia, in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, in 1998, and it was won by Brazil.

Football 5-a-side is played on a court with the same dimensions as a futsal court, and the floor may be made of rubber, cement or wood, although synthetic grass has been the favoured option since the sport was first played at the Paralympic Games.

The basic rules are based on futsal, which is the responsibility of the International Football Federation (known by French acronym FIFA). The sport is run by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), which was created in 1981.

Football 5-a-side differs from futsal in a number of ways. For example, it is impossible for the ball to leave the court from the sides, due to two 1.20-high lateral barriers. In addition, as well as penalties, there are also double penalties, eight metres from the goal.

Each team is made up of four linemen, who wear eye shades to prevent those who can perceive light from having any kind of advantage. The goalkeeper can see normally, however. Matches are played in two halves of 25 minutes each, with a 10-minute interval, and the team that scores the most goals wins.

The official ball has a rattle inside it and this sound guides the players. They receive instructions from three guides, one for each one-third of the pitch: the goalkeeper in the defence area; the coach in the mid-field; and in the attack area, another member of the technical commission who stays behind the opponents’ goal. Despite this resource, shouting too much can hinder players.