Making soccer available for everyone

It’s important that everyone has a fair go and equal opportunity to take part in sport.

There have been plenty of advancements for people to participate in soccer, even with disability. It shows that despite these personal circumstances, it’s possible for people to still fulfil their dream.

We look at the ways people with disability can still enjoy what the sport of soccer has to offer.

Blind and vision impaired soccer:

Blind (B1) competition is one of two formats of the game that is an international sport at the Paralympics.

In a team, four outfield players must have blindfolds over their eyes so there’s no advantage for those with a little bit of vision, while the goalkeeper can be fully or partially sighted so that they can call out when teammates approach the goal.

The ball is specially made to rattle and create noise so that players know where the ball is.

The other format is vision impaired/partially sighted (B2/B3) competition can be played by those with limited vision and futsal rules are used with minor adjustments.

In 2018, the City of Melbourne announced a $1.5 million redevelopment of North Melbourne Recreation Reserve that creates a facility to hold B1 international level competitions.

All Abilities League:

Inclusion is the sole focus of the All Abilities League, aiming to accept people into the game regardless of their age, gender or ability. It places an emphasis on having fun rather than being too results-driven.

Football Victoria has announced their All Abilities League competition will run for a third year in a row and is played during May-September.

Powerchair football:

This modified version of soccer accommodates for those using the electric wheelchair. It’s normally played on a typical basketball court with four players on each side (including the goalkeeper).

For people who require the electric wheelchair for daily mobility from conditions such as quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, hand trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury and other disabilities.

Every state in Australia has a local powerchair football program, making it highly accessable for people with different skills and experience.


Part of the Paralympics for people with brain or other similar conditions – it’s been a recognised sport in Australia since 1998.

Games are similar to a normal 11-person match with walking and running involved, however this format reduces it to seven meaning the field dimensions are smaller.

Other key differences are no offsides and the ability to take throw-ins with just one hand.

7-a-side competition is suited for people with a neurological impairment, including hypertonia, spasticity, dystonia, rigidity, ataxia and athetosis.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Football Victoria welcomes funding from VicHealth

Football Victoria has welcomed the news that VicHealth will be distributing funds to clubs and associations in Victoria, as they all continue to face the ongoing challenges related to COVID-19.

VicHealth’s latest round of Active Club Grant funding will see 16 Victorian football clubs and three associations being awarded a total of more than $65,000 in funding.

These grants are able to support grassroots clubs and to create new opportunities for the local community to get active, with Football Victoria encouraging more Victorians to get involved in the game.

VicHealth’s Active Club Grants continue to significantly add to the improvement of overall health in less active Victorians. The grants are designed to generate more opportunities for everyone to safely participate in sport. The particular focus is to include those people who may not have the same opportunities as others.

VicHealth targets all relevant areas of how Victorians can improve their health and wellbeing, including promoting healthy eating, encouraging regular physical activity, preventing tobacco use, preventing harm from alcohol and improving someone’s mental health.

Football Victoria has thanked VicHealth for their ongoing commitment and support to grassroots and congratulated each football club and association on becoming the latest recipients of VicHealth’s vital funds.

Unfortunately, club football activities have been postponed for at least six weeks as Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews reimposed Stage 3 restrictions throughout metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire Council.

The restrictions came into effect at 11:59pm on Wednesday July 8 and activities such as matches, training, clinics and group practice must be halted in these sections of the state. Victorians can still do solitary exercise as one of just four reasons they should be leaving their home.

At this stage, football activities can continue away from the lockdown areas, but Football Victoria will closely monitor the situation to assess the next steps if the situation escalates.

Lisbon Covid-19 spike won’t halt Champions League

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin has stated that the Champions League will continue in Portugal as planned, despite a Covid-19 spike in Lisbon that could derail the elite club football competition.

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin has stated that the Champions League will continue in Portugal as planned, despite a Covid-19 spike in Lisbon that could derail the elite club football competition.

Portugal was chosen as the destination to stage the conclusion of the Champions League in August, with the major competition having been postponed since March due to Covid-19.

However, from July 1st, a setback has seen 19 neighbourhoods north of Portugal’s host city Lisbon going back into lockdown, with gatherings limited to just five people.

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa held discussions with Čeferin, as well as Portuguese Football Federation (PFF) President Fernando Gomes via video call on June 30th before the mini-tournament gets underway in August.

“I would like to thank the Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa for his dedication to this project and the work he is doing alongside the Portuguese Football Federation to ensure that Portugal delivers a successful tournament,” Čeferin said in a statement.

“I am confident that with the continued and constant collaboration between all stakeholders, we will conclude the season in a positive way in Lisbon. There is no need for a ‘Plan B’.”

At this stage, the Champions League restart will take place as planned on the following dates, as single-leg knockout ties will decide this year’s winner:

August 7-8: Round of 16 second legs
August 12-15: Quarter-finals (Lisbon)
August 18-19: Semi-finals (Lisbon)
August 23: Final (Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon)

Champions League ties from the quarter-finals onwards will be split between Benfica’s Stadium of Light and Sporting Lisbon’s Estádio José Alvalade.

The final-eight part of the tournament will begin from August 12, with some fixtures still to be decided. Half of the round of 16 ties have been completed – Paris Saint-Germain, Atlético Madrid, RB Leipzig and Atalanta made it through to the quarter-finals.

The round of 16 second legs yet to be played are Juventus vs Lyon (0-1), Manchester City vs Real Madrid (2-1), Bayern vs Chelsea (3-0) and Barcelona vs Napoli (1-1). Venues for the remaining Round of 16 contests have not been confirmed yet.

The FA forced into job cuts amid Covid-19

The Football Association (FA), English soccer’s governing body, has been forced into 124 job cuts as they try to fight their losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

FA chairman Greg Clarke has confirmed that all areas of the organisation will be affected, as a redundancy programme will see a large number of positions removed.

“All areas of the FA will be affected,” he said.

“We need to save UK£75 million a year and we’ve got a UK£300 million potential hole to fill over the next four years.”

Of the total 124 jobs to be made redundant, 42 of those will be achieved by stopping further recruitment. It leaves 82 positions that will have to be cut in order to save costs.

It’s been reported that the FA is bracing for a potential deficit of UK£300 million (AU$536 million) over the next four years due to the coronavirus.

“We have a responsibility to preserve our core functions that regulate and serve English football,” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said.

“We also have a duty to support our men’s and women’s senior teams in their efforts to win major tournaments. That means we have set out in our proposals some difficult choices because we do not think we can afford to do all the things that we did before.

“We believe the impact of this crisis is to force us to focus more than ever on our key priorities.”

Despite the English professional leagues getting their season restarts underway recently, the FA has already lost revenue given it’s the first bit of league action since the nationwide shutdown in March.

“It might seem that football has weathered the storm by getting the top-flight men’s game playing again,” Bullingham said.

“However, unfortunately the past few months have impacted the FA severely and we have lost a significant amount of money that we can never recoup.”

Associations such as the FA have the opportunity to receive a loan from Fifa, under the global governing body’s Covid-19 relief plan. However, it’s been reported that the FA has opted against taking advantage of the loan on offer by Fifa, despite them being forced into the job cuts.

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