Paralympic Sports A-Z: Football 7 a Side

Find out all you need to know about the Paralympic sport of football 7-a-side, including the history, rules, classification and equipment.

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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.