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On Saturday 26th June NCBI is holding this country’s very first Blind (B1) Football Tournament in University College Dublin’s Sports Centre, Belfield. This exciting fundraising event will feature 16 teams of five players taking part in a series of 20-minute matches over a period of four hours. Though each team may consist of players with varying degrees of vision, all players (with the exception of the goalkeeper), will be required to wear blindfolds during their games to ensure those with vision have no advantage.
Practiced in more than 30 countries across five continents, Blind Football is increasing in popularity at an enormous rate. The sport is played on a solid surface, generally indoors, with a football containing bearings so that it makes a noise when it moves. Each team consists of five players, four outfield players and a goalkeeper. The outfield players are required to wear eye-patches and blindfolds while the sighted goalkeeper cannot leave their restricted area. People who take part in Blind Football are classified according to their level of sight as B1, B2 or B3. Players in the B2 and B3 classification are vision impaired or partially sighted while those rated B1, as in the case of this tournament, are considered fully blind.
David Nason, one of the trainees at NCBI’s Rehabilitation Training Centre, is responsible for organising and running the Blind Football event. David, who is a passionate football fan himself, hopes that it will act as a springboard for more Blind Football leagues in the future, a sport that is still very much in its early infancy in Ireland. Furthermore, this year the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has trained six new coaches to train blind players through the “Football for All Programme”.
The participation cost of this event is €15 per player. If you would like to become involved, either as a player or a volunteer, please contact Stuart Lawlor on 01 8821961 or 087 9926360.