Blind football details: Everything you need to know about the sport

Blind football details: Everything you need to know about the sport

Claudia Kogi
updated at October 7, 2023 at 3:15 PM

Blind football is an incredible way to prove that disability is not inability. This variation of soccer was invented to include the visually impaired and is an excellent way to keep them involved in sporting activities. What does the sport entail? Get all the facts and details here.

Blind football
Sebastian Themel is seen standing behind a goal during a training session on 13 September 2016 in Chemnitz, Germany. Photo: Fabian Held (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

This kind of football brings together athletes who are blind, partially blind, and partially sighted. Having been invented in the 1920s, Spain is considered the pioneer of the sport. It has since gained immense popularity and even participated in the Summer Paralympic Games and Blind Soccer World Championships. Who can play blind football, and what does it entail?

How is blind football played?

Blind soccer is exhilarating to both play and watch. An adaptation of the world’s most popular sport for athletes with a visual impairment, the sport is fast-paced, technical, and physical. Athletes need to have speed, strength, stamina, as well as excellent spatial awareness despite their lack of vision.

Playing surface

People are often surprised by how quick, physical and technical this sport is. For starters, it is played on a solid, smooth, flat and non-abrasive surface on a pitch that is 40m x 20m wide. Each pitch is surrounded by kickboards, a physical barrier that indicates the boundaries of the playing area.

One notable fact about this kind of soccer pitches is that they should be outside to ensure that the acoustics are correct for athletes.


In this sport, the goals are 3.66m wide and 2.14m high.


Are the goalkeepers in blind football blind?
Blind athletes control the ball during an indoor soccer match on 28 June 2008 in Ibarra, Quito. Photo: Rodrigo Buendia (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Unlike soccer, where each team has eleven players, each team in this sport has five players, including a goalkeeper. Outfield players wear eye patches and eyeshades, which are commonly referred to as blindfolds or eyeshades.

Four players are allowed as substitutes and one goalkeeper. Unlike other sports, substitutes can be made up to six times per half.

Are the goalkeepers in blind football blind?

Goalkeepers can be sighted or partially sighted. They are often classified as B2 and B3, and under no circumstances are they allowed to leave the area.


The soccer ball must contain bells or any other system that produces noise when moving on the pitch or through the air. Unlike regular soccer, there are no offside rules or throw-ins. One common feature this sport has with regular soccer is that it also has corner kicks.


Unlike regular soccer, where each half goes for 45 minutes with additional minutes, this kind of soccer lasts for 20 minutes, and teams are allowed to request a one-minute timeout per half.

How do blind footballers know where the ball is?

How do blind footballers know where the ball is?
The blind Brazilian national football team players are seen training on 13 April 2012 in Niteroi, Brazil. Photo: Christopher Pillitz
Source: Getty Images

These athletes do not see. How do they know where the ball is? Well, there are a couple of guidelines these athletes follow so as to reach the ball during action.

  • By listening to the sound of the crowd cheering
  • By using a guide. I.e., another player or coach
  • Spectators and teams on the side remain silent during play to allow players to hear the ball
  • The court is marked with tactile lines so athletes can feel where they are

Additionally, the balls are equipped with bells or other measures to ensure that they make noise when they move on the pitch or through the air.

What are blind football rules?

The sport is designed for athletes who have low vision. It is played with modified rules that ensure smooth running during any match.

  • All players, except for the goalkeeper, are blindfolded
  • The is modified to make a jingling or rattling sound
  • Athletes are required to say voy, go, or something similar when going for the ball. This is to alert other participants about a particular position
Who can play blind football?
Blind athletes from Argentina take a rest during their final match against Chile on 23 October 2008 in Santiago, Chile. Photo: Martin Bernetti
Source: Getty Images
  • A guide is positioned outside the field of play to instruct the athletes
  • There are five players per team, including the goalkeeper

Can the goalie see in blind soccer?

The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to have a vision in this sport, and like regular soccer, he is also responsible for keeping the ball from going into the net.

The success and popularity of blind football are proof of inclusivity in the sporting world. These individuals are undoubtedly inspiring to other differently-abled athletes who can now earn a decent living from a noble profession and passion.

READ ALSO: What is blind cricket and how is the sport played? All the facts and details

Sports Brief has recently published an article about blind cricket. This sport brings together players who are blind, partially blind, and partially sighted. Since its invention in 1922, the sport has gained global popularity.

The sport is yet to be included in the Olympics and Paralympics, but several World Blind Cricket World Cups have been held over the years. How is the sport played? Click the link above to find out more about the sport.

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Claudia Kogi
Claudia Kogi is a Kenyan content creator with over 3 years of experience. Claudia joined as a writer in January 2022, covering sports and relatable content.