Sport Week: Introduction to football 7-a-side

This Paralympic sport is very similar to its able-bodied version, of course, with some modifications. 23 May 2016 By IPC

This September in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, football 7-a-side will make its ninth appearance in a Paralympics Games.

As the name implies, the sport is similar to its able-bodied version, with some modifications:

•Two teams of seven each are on the field

•The sport is for athletes with cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury

•There is no offside rule

•Throw-ins may be made with just one hand and roll-ins are also allowed

•Matches consist of two halves of 30 minutes each

•In football 7, the pitch (75m x 55m compared to 120m x 90m, maximum) and goal posts (5m x 2m compared to 7.32m x 2.44m) are smaller

•In the semi-final and final matches, if the scores are level after 60 minutes, two periods of 10 minutes of extra time will be played

•If nobody wins in extra time, the match is decided by a penalty shoot-out

•The objectives are the same: teams try to put the ball in their opponent’s goal, while defending their own.

Athletes are allocated to four sport classes (FT5, FT6, FT7 and FT8) depending on the impact of the athlete’s impairment on his performance.

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 player on the field. A dedicated story on classification in football 7-a-side will be published later in this Sport Week series.

The International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) is the global governing body of the sport.

Helpful links:

IFCPF’s ‘What is CP football?’

Rio 2016 webpage on football 7-a-side

IPC webpage on football 7-a-side

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.