The groups for the IBSA Blind Football European Qualifier and Division 2 Championships were drawn on 9 March at the headquarters of the Romanian Football Federation. Hosts Romania will face Georgia, Ireland and Albania in Group A, whilst Greece, Belarus, Moldova and the Czech Republic were drawn in Group B.
The competition will take place in Bacau, Romania, from 1-9 April, with the top two teams from the tournament qualifying for the IBSA Blind Football European Championships in Berlin, Germany, from 17-27 August.
Romania won the IBSA Euro Challenge in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 2016 and is ranked world No.34. Greece is the top-ranked team competing at the European Qualifier, at No.24, and will be the hosts’ strongest opponents.
They are followed by Georgia (No. 25), Moldova (No. 35), Czech Republic (No. 39) and Albania (No. 41).
Ireland will be making their international debut in Romania, whilst Belarus will return to the football 5 scene after competing at the European Championships in 2009, finishing ninth.
Salvia Marion Wood-Lamont, President of the Romanian Paralympic Committee, said: “This is the first major blind football event in Romania and a big step in the continuous campaign to promote Paralympic sports. Six of the teams are from the former Eastern European bloc and that makes it a real accomplishment for IBSA Europe Football.
“We thank IBSA Blind Football for choosing us as the hosts for this competition and we hope Romania will be considered for other major Championships in the future.”
More information is available on IBSA’s website.