Rules and Classification
What is it?
7-a-side football is basically the same as 11-a-side football, but with rules adapted for athletes with a disability.
Who can participate in 7-a-side football at the Paralympics?
7-a-side football is open to athletes with cerebral palsy.
Classes 5, 6, 7 and 8: class 5 is for athletes with the most severe disabilities, progressing to class 8 for the least disabled.
- All classes comprise ambulant athletes
Teams must include at least one athlete from either class 5 or 6.
How is it played?
Modifications to the rules include:
- Each team consists of seven players;
- The playing field is smaller, as are the goals;
- There is no offside rule;
- Throw-ins may be made with one hand only;
- Each half lasts 30 minutes.
Practice makes perfect
Millions of people around the world know that football can be very enjoyable to play or to watch. Perhaps you are one of them? However, did you know that that playing football can have huge benefits for people with cerebral palsy? Players and officials agree that participating in 7 a-side football can have two very positive outcomes. It can contribute towards rehabilitating the disability itself and it can also help the athlete’s integration into society.
2. Johannes Siikonen
Johannes Siikonen, who captained the Finnish 7-a-side team, commented that playing football increases physical fitness by strengthening muscles “all round your body”. He talked about cases of players who “are now able to run … (where) … they hadn’t been able to do it before”.
3. Valeire Suskevic
Valeire Suskevic, President of the Ukraine Paralympic Association, also described benefits for people with cerebral palsy. He said that there are many examples where, after playing football, players’ “spirit and muscles became much stronger” and this helped them “get adapted … and be able to lead a normal life within society.”
4. Luke Evans
Irish player Luke Evans agreed: “It obviously helps with the physical attributes, but at the same time it makes you more determined, more committed. I think it’s essential to have a sport in your life, because it does help with your attitude and how you look upon things.”