Footballcounter, KICK & Youth United Foundation join hands for the Visually Challenged

Footballcounter in association with Youth United Foundation (YUF) and KICK prepare for a first-ever blind football team for Mumbai city. The three parties have come together to formulate a team for the visually challenged, hosting regular training sessions and competitive games in the process.

Each of the three entities will work in their roles, in their capabilities, to solidify the condition of blind football in the city. A restructure of the current blueprint is a necessary change required to implement improved projects for development and enhancement in the conditions for the blind community.

Youth United foundation, an NGO formed up of a group of enthusiastic students of St. Xavier’s, Mumbai has worked hard to promote the sport for visually impaired in association with XRCVC (Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged). While FootballCounter has been working hard to provide them with a bigger platform.

While KICK has been thoroughly supportive in providing their Astroturf for training sessions and matches, measures from Youth United Foundation have made for an inclusive community which has been sharing a common vision, and now feel united as a team.

Here are the rules and regulations for Blind football:

5-a-side as per Paralympics association football

Football 5-a-side players are assigned to one of three sports classes based on their level of visual impairment:

  • B1– Totally or almost totally blind; from no light perception up to light perception but their inability to recognise the shape of a hand.
  • B2– Partially sighted; able to recognise the shape of a hand up to a visual acuity of 2/60 or a visual field of less than 5 degrees.
  • B3– Partially sighted; visual acuity from 2/60 to 6/60 or visual field from 5 to 20 degrees

Teams are permitted to use sighted athletes as goalkeepers and guides; sighted goalkeepers cannot have been registered with FIFA for at least five years.

Two types of competition exist. For Class B1 games, only athletes with sports class B1 are permitted as players, with the exception of the goalkeepers and the guides, who may be class B2, B3, or sighted. For Class B2/B3 games, teams can field players in sports classes B2 and B3; at least two B2 players must be on the field at all times.

7-a-side as per Paralympics association football:

7-a-side football is an adaptation of association football for athletes with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders, including stroke and traumatic brain injury. The sport is governed by the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA). The sport is played with modified FIFA rules. Among the modifications is a reduced field of play, a reduction in the number of players, elimination of the offside rule, and permission for one-handed throw-ins. Matches consist of two thirty-minute halves, with a fifteen-minute half-time break.

Players competing in 7-a-side football are given a sports class based on their level of disability. Eligible classes are:

  • C5: Athletes with difficulties when walking and running, but not in standing or when kicking the ball.
  • C6: Athletes with control and co-ordination problems of their upper limbs, especially when running.
  • C7: Athletes with hemiplegia.
  • C8: Minimally disabled athletes; they must meet eligibility criteria and have an obvious impairment that has an impact on the sport of football.

Teams must field at least one class C5 or C6 player at all times. No more than one player of class C8 are permitted to play at the same time.

With training sessions happening for the past 30 days with all three parties involved, the team has been taking steps in the right direction and requires the support from the football playing community and followers of Footballcounter to lend their hand for the good.

With this huge initiative, the visually impaired ones will not only get a huge platform but it will also motivate the current crop of youths to support and bring this unique sport to where it genuinely belongs.

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