Football is one of the world's most exciting sports combining strategy, speed, and agility. The 7-a-side version extends this engaging and entertaining sport to the Paralympic arena.
The players in football 7-a-side have cerebral palsy or a similar neurological disorder. There are no off-side rules and matches are 60 minutes (30 per half). There are four classifications and each side must maintain a line-up featuring players with varying levels of impairments.
Football 7-a-side has been an official part of the Paralympic Games since 1984. As of May 2015, Canada has yet to qualify a team for the Paralympic Games.
The rules are the same as those for Olympic football (soccer) with a few modifications:
-Throw-ins may be made with one hand
-There are no off-sides
-The goalkeeper may kick or throw the ball back into play after a maximum of four steps
In group play-off matches or finals, if the match ends in a tie two 10-minute extensions of extra time follow, (where the FIFA 'Golden Goal' rule applies). If there is no winner after the extra time, the teams follow a penalty kick procedure where five players from each team takes a penalty shot, and if still equal, follow the FIFA procedure.
Each team consists of 12 players with three substitutions allowed during each match. A match cannot continue with fewer than four athletes on the field. The match consists of two halves of 30 minutes each with a 15-minute halftime.
The sport is governed by the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) and follows the rules of the International Federation of Associated Football (FIFA), with some modifications. The Canadian Soccer Association is the National Sport Federation.
Key non-Paralympic competitions include the Parapan American Games and the CPISRA Football-7-A-Side World Championships.