The FAI FFA programme and Vision Sports Ireland work in conjunction to promote and develop football opportunities for people with vision impairments.
There are opportunities for both partially sighted players (B2/3) and fully blind (B1) players.
The B2/3 footballers play indoors and there are minimal differences in the rules from those that apply to the standard game of Futsal (five a side football). This game is played using a normal indoor Futsal ball – with high visibility being an option when available. There are two B2/3 groups training in Ireland; one for children and another for adults. Currently both are based in Dublin but there are plans to grow a team in Cork in the near future – please contact Alex Whelan for details email@example.com
B1 football is played outdoors on an artificial pitch with low level boards forming walls along the side of the pitch. All players wear block out goggles or blindfolds so that all are equally ‘blind’ during play. Sighted assistants call instructions from behind the goals. The ball contains ball bearings and therefore emits a sound as it moves about the pitch. In both cases the teams play with a sighted goalkeeper.
There are two groups training in Ireland, one in Dublin and another in cork, both are for children and adults of all ages.
Ireland B1 Football International team recently competed at the International Blind sports Associations European qualifiers. Adult players (over 16) will be selected to attend international training after training in their regional centre.