London 2012 welcomes 5-a-side and 7-a-side football to Paralympics

Whilst much attention will be given to the main football event at the London 2012 Olympics, it will not be the only one to grace the big stage. For in the first week of September 2012, the London 2012 Paralympics football competitions will begin, with another two versions of the sport on offer – 5-a-side, and 7-a-side, each with different disability sets.

But whereas the main 11-a-side football will need little introduction, here is some brief information about the two Paralympic versions of football on offer, and details of how you can be at Olympic Park to cheer on Team GB.

Football 5-a-side
This version is played between visually impaired athletes, and made it’s Olympic debut in 2004 in Athens. It is a thrilling, fast-moving game, using a ball with a noise-making device inside. Matches are played with four outfield players, all visually impaired, and one goalkeeper who can be fully or partially sighted. The game is played with no throw-ins, using a rebound wall, over two halves of 25 minutes each. This Olympic’s tournament features eight mens teams in two groups of four, in a round-robin format, with two teams from each group qualifying for the semi-finals.

Key facts
Venue: Olympic Park – Hockey Centre
Dates: Friday 31 August – Saturday 8 September 2012
Medal events: 1
Athletes: 64 (all men; eight teams)

Football 7-a-side

This is a completely different kind of football to the 5-a-side, another pacey, fiercely contested sport, this time played by athletes with Cerebral Palsy. First introduced into the Paralympics in New York and Stoke Mandeville games of 1984, the Olympic Park Hockey Centre will host eight men’s teams in a 20-match tournament.

This version follows FIFA rules, with some modifications – the playing field is smaller, and so are the goals (5m by 2m), and there is no offside rule- Throw-ins may be with one hand only, and each half lasts 30 minutes. Each team must also maintain a line-up featuring players with varying levels of Cerebral Palsy.

Again this is played with two groups of four teams, with the top two teams from each group meeting in the semi-finals.

Key facts
Venue: Olympic Park – Hockey Centre
Dates: Saturday 1 September – Sunday 9 September 2012
Medal events: 1
Athletes: 96 (all men; eight teams)

Tickets for the London 2012 Paralympic Games will be on sale from Friday 9th to Monday 26th September. To Sign Up for more information go to www.tickets.london2012.com

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