Image source: jeffrouk@Flickr/ (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Paralympic football 5-a-side has become quite popular lately thanks to the highly competitive games played in the Summer Paralympics 2020 in Tokyo. We’ll take a detailed look into the Paralympics football 5-a-side rules and the best online bookmakers to bet on it.

Football 5-a-side has been a part of Paralympics since the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. Its popularity soared especially in the Tokyo Paralympics as the games attracted massive media attention. Although this game has been around as part of the Paralympics for quite some time, it is still an unfamiliar territory for many. We have utmost confidence that this sport will be immensely popular in the near future. Therefore, it is good to know the Paralympic football 5-a-side rules in case you want to maximize your involvement and fun while watching the games. 

Brief History of Paralympic Football 5-a-side

Paralympic football 5-a-side has gained public interest during the Tokyo Paralympics. However, there are many other paralympic football tournaments organized regularly. The game is played by the modified FIFA rules. Nevertheless, it is not governed by FIFA, but the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA). 

First Men’s IBSA Blind Football World Championship took place in Brazil in 1998. The first 3 tournaments were organized with 2-year intervals. And then IBSA switched it to 4 years just like the World Cup. So far there have been 7 IBSA Blind Football World Championships, 5 of which were won by Brazil. In the other 2, Argentina came out as victors. 

Paralympic football 5-a-side was inducted into the Paralympics in 2004. We have had 4 football 5-a-side championships in Paralympics so far. Guess who won the gold medals in all these tournaments? Yes, you guessed it right. Brazil scooped all the gold medals so far. We are yet to learn the winners of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics football 5-a-side tournament. If you fancy wagering a bet on the winner, head to 1xBet to see the available Paralympic football 5-a-side betting markets. See our detailed 1xBet Online Bookmaker Expert Review.

paralympic football 5-a-side rules

Brazil vs. Argentina in the 2007 Parapan Games Final (Image by Marcello Casal Jr/ABr, CC BY 3.0 BR, via Wikimedia Commons)

Male Dominance in Paralympic Football 5-a-side

There has been clear male dominance in the sport since its genesis. There hasn’t been a major women’s paralympic football 5-a-side tournament. As we mentioned previously, this sport has started gaining popularity recently. Therefore, we expect that there will be more tournaments in both men’s and women’s categories. But for the time being, there is no women’s category in the Paralympics and the World Championship. 

Paralympic Football 5-a-side Rules: Classes

There are 3 sport classes in paralympic football 5-a-side based on the players’ level of visual impairment. There are different tournaments based on this classification. B1 means almost totally blind, while B2 is a category for the partially sighted. The accepted visual acuity is 2/60. B3 is the category for the players who are partially sighted with visual acuity of 2/60 to 6/60. 

For class B1 games, only the athletes who are in this class are permitted. For the B2 and B3 games, players from both categories are permitted; however, there must be at least 2 players from the B2 category on the field at all times. 

Teams are allowed to use sighted goalkeepers and guides. However, sighted goalkeepers cannot be registered with FIFA for at least five years. So, Germany cannot use Manuel Neuer as the goalie in the Paralympics.

How Paralympic Football 5-a-side is Played

As the name suggests, Paralympic football 5-a-side is played by 2 teams, each of which consists of 4 outfield players and a goalkeeper. You might have seen in the recent games in the 2020 Paralympics that outfield players have bands on their eyes. This ensures fairness. The outfield players cannot see anything, not even the slightest. So, how do they know the proximity of the ball? There is a noise making device in the ball, like a bell. 

It is of utmost importance that the spectators stay silent during the game. So, even the ultras need to keep quiet even if they watch the game half naked and ready to fight holding torches to throw onto the pitch. They can, however, cheer as much as they want when a goal is scored. Go nuts if you will!  

Finding the ball is not the only challenge, though. Players also need to tackle the opponents, dribble past them and pass the ball to their teammates. Guiding the outfield players to do all these is the job of the sighted or partially-sighted goalkeeper and the guide. 

The outfield players receive cues from the guides, the goalkeepers and the coaches in order to visualize their location. You can hear them shouting like “20 meter ahead, 30 degree to the left, shoot.” and then “Goooooalllll.”

Pitch Dimensions and the Duration

Paralympic football 5-a-side pitch dimensions are quite different from the standards set by FIFA, as the number of players is also smaller. The game is played on a 40m x 20m pitch which is covered with 1-meter-high boards which help players and the ball to stay on the field. There are no corners, throw-ins or off-side rule. The game keeps going continuously. 

It is physically challenging considering the fact that players need to be in action non-stop without seeing the environment. Therefore, the game is played for 50 minutes divided into 2 halves, unlike the association football which is played for 90 minutes in 2 halves. 

Paralympic Football 5-a-side Rules: Fouls

Each paralympic football 5-a-side player can commit 4 fouls, just like in European basketball. Fifth foul means being substituted for the rest of the game. The player who commits 5 fouls and leaves the pitch cannot come back to the game.  

How to Bet on Paralympic Football 5-a-side Online

With the increasing popularity of paralympic football 5-side, now it is possible to wager bets on it online at the best legal online betting sites, such as 1xBet. Simply create a free account at 1xBet and then top up your account using one of the best payments methods for online betting. If you fancy betting on paralympic football 5-a-side using cryptocurrency, you can check our list of the best online bookmakers that accept bitcoin.

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