Reblogged from Beyond Disability
Football for the blind and partially sighted started out as a playground game for school children in special schools for the visually impaired. It has now become one of the most popular sports for people with a visual impairment worldwide.
The game was taken up in several countries, each playing according to its local customs (different balls and pitches were used, rules varied from country to country, etc.). Many countries, such as Spain and Brazil, set up national championships, and soon countries began to organise the first friendly international matches.
Blind football – or futsal, as it is also known – joined the IBSA fold in 1996 when the decision was taken to set up a futsal subcommittee. The first task of the committee was to set up internationally recognised and approved rules.
With an agreed set of rules, the first IBSA European Championships were held in 1997 in Barcelona, Spain, and the first American Championships took place in Asunción in Paraguay.
Since then official IBSA regional and world championships have been held regularly and international friendly tournaments such as the IBSA Cup are a regular feature on the blind futsal calendar.
IBSA has two types of football – B1 for footballers who are completely blind, and B2/B3 for players who are partially sighted.
B1 football has become one of the biggest sports on the Paralympic Games programme following its debut at the Athens 2004 games. This was recognised at the recent London 2012 Paralympic Games when the number of teams taking part rose from six to eight. Brazil won the Paralympic tournament and the gold medal for the third time running, defeating France 2-0 in the final.
Blind football enjoys support from UEFA for its development activities in Europe.