What's it all about?
All you see is complete darkness. But at the same time, a seriously intense, high-speed game of soccer is happening around you! And you’re playing too! Sound exciting? Then you’ll love football 5-a-side, also known as blind football.
How it's played
The teams: Teams of four visually impaired outfielders and one sighted goalie compete against each other, but only one team will win gold!
The match: Matches are made up of two 20-minute halves with the clock stopping every time the ball goes out of play or there is a foul.
The equipment: Football cleats, shin guards and protective headbands for safety. Blindfolds must be worn by outfielders so all players are completely without sight. The ball has a special sound maker inside so players can hear where it is!
The play: Quickly make your way across the field, getting around the defence of the other team, to try to score on the other team’s net. The team with the most goals wins! (Check out the photos below!)
The points: Each goal scored on the net is worth one point, including free kicks, kick-ins, goal kicks, corner kicks and shootouts.
The athletes: Players need speed, great control of the ball and excellent hearing. Being a team player with a lot of strength and stamina are also key!
Did you know: Crowds have to be completely quiet during play so athletes can hear the ball and calls from other players and their guides. But crowds can cheer as loud as they want when a goal is scored!
Things to watch for
- Stands behind the opponent's goal and acts as the players’ eyes to help give them instructions on where the goal and other players are located.
- They will yell things like "two metres, one defence right.”
- Must be able to see or at least be partially sighted, that way they can also give instructions to their teammates.
- Are not allowed to touch the ball outside of the goal area and if they do, the other team is allowed to take a penalty kick.
- The 5-a-side pitch has one-metre high side walls around the outside so that the ball stays in play.
- This makes the game move at a fast pace and keeps things exciting!