Sport Week: Classification in football 7-a-side

What you need to know about the four sport classes in this Paralympic sport. 24 May 2016
Jonato Santos Machado of Brazil and Pablo Molina Lopez of Argentina during the Gold Medal match at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.

Jonato Santos Machado of Brazil and Pablo Molina Lopez of Argentina during the Gold Medal match at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.

ⒸJon Blacker

Athletes competing in football 7-a-side have ataxia, hypertonia or athetosis – three impairment types that are most commonly associated with individuals with cerebral palsy and/or traumatic brain injury.

The athletes have a neurological impairment, with a motor control impairment of a cerebral nature, causing a permanent and verifiable activity limitation.

The athletes are assigned to one of the four sport classes, depending on how much the impairment impacts his sport performance:


In this sport class, athletes have hypertonia in both lower limbs and to some degree in both upper limbs. The players have difficulties when running, turning and stopping because of an activity limitation in the lower limbs.


Athletes are affected by coordination and balance difficulties in all four limbs and trunk due to ataxia or athetosis. FT6 players typically have difficulties in dribbling the ball when running, accelerating and stopping.


This sport class is designated for hemiplegic players, meaning only one side of their body is affected, causing the players to walk and run with a limp. The player has limited knee pick up when sprinting and also has an asymmetrical stride length. The player has difficulty pivoting and balancing on the impaired side, and therefore often pivots on the unaffected side and may kick with the affected foot.


This sport class describes the minimum impairment eligible for football 7-a-side. These are athletes with minor degrees of activity limitation from any of the above classes. You may not see the impact of the impairment when watching the athlete run or control the ball. However, involuntary muscle contractions and hesitation before explosive movements do constitute activity limitations in comparison to able-bodied players.

To ensure a fair game between two teams, each team has to have one FT5 or FT6 player on the field at all times and is not allowed to have more than one FT8 players on the field.

Eligible impairments in football 7-a-side:




Helpful links:

IPC’s classification webpage

IFCPF’s classification webpage

Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.