The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) has announced the IBSA Blind Football World Grand Prix as a new addition to the 2018 events calendar.
This new competition is the brainchild of the Japan Blind Football Association, with the first edition taking place in Tokyo from 18-25 March 2018. It aims to tap into the popularity of blind football and enhance interest by sponsors and spectators in the run-up to the 2020 Paralympic Games.
The World Grand Prix (WGP) will comprise two separate tournaments - an elite category for six national teams placed in the top 16 of the world rankings table, and a development tournament for four teams sitting outside the top 16.
The elite event will provide an opportunity for the world's best teams to play against each other just three months before the biggest tournament of the year, the World Championships in Madrid, Spain, from 5-18 June 2018.
The development tournament will offer up-and-coming teams the chance to face teams around their own level, as well as share an event with the world's best blind footballers.
Hosts Japan will field a team in both tournaments - its full national team in the elite event and a development squad in the second tournament - leaving five slots free in the elite competition and three in the development event.
The full story is available on IBSA’s website.