Guide of paralympic selection process

Following the health crisis that we all know, the 2020 Paralympic Games have been postponed. They will take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021.

The French Federation for disabled sports (FFH) has adapted to this exceptional context by ensuring a high level of requirement while harmonizing the selection criteria of the athletes according to the current situation and the sports equity. This means that the Federal Commission of the French paralympic selection is in charge of selecting the athletes who have the best chances to win an Olympic medal, and can rely on events or factors different than the selection competitions to choose the athletes who will go to defend the colors of France in Tokyo.

Logo of the Paralympic Games of Tokyo

How many cecifoot players can go to the Paralympics ?

The 2020 Paralympic Games will bring together approximately 4,400 athletes who will compete for 539 medals. Among these 4,400 athletes, only 64 are blind football players. It means there will be eight teams – Japan, Brazil, Spain, China, Argentina, Thailand, Morocco and France – composed of eight male players and two goalkeepers. So, there are ten players selected per team.

The French blind football team in meeting with its staff : all the players will not be selected for the Paralympic Games

What are the requirements for selecting a blind football player?

For a player to be selected, he must have participated at least once in an international blind football competition between January 1, 2018 and May 31, 2021, and must have “Confirmed” or “Review” as international sport class status.

The selected player must also be up to date on their international classification. In the case of visual impairment, this means that he must undergo an official medical examination by an accredited ophthalmologist. This test is essential to ensure the fairness of the events by “classifying” the different forms of disability, in this case visual.

Ophthalmologic examination material

For any athlete who has never been classified, this examination must be from the current year. Each international reference tournament organized before the Paralympic Games can give rise to a classification : the first two days before the beginning of a competition are always devoted to this. Please note : no classification is carried out during the period of the Paralympics.

For a player with a visual pathology judged stable by the doctor or if he is born blind, he will be classified “for life” and will not have to take an official exam again.
However, in case of progressive visual pathology, the duration of validity of this classification will be determined by the examiner in order to allow regular re-evaluations for future competitions.

How do national blind football teams qualify for the Paralympic Games ?

The team that wins the World Blind Football Championships automatically qualifies. Now, Brazil won the 2018 world championships. It was therefore the first qualified.

Then regional championships are organized in America, Asia, Europe and Africa to determine who will be the next participants in the Paralympics. Each region can send a certain number of teams : America can send 1 team, Asia – 2 teams, Africa – 1 team and finally Europe – 2 teams. And so, it is at the end of the European championships of 2019 that the French team qualified, being finalist of the tournament.

And finally, the country hosting the tournament sees its team directly qualified for the Paralympics : Japan for this edition.

The eight countries competing for the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Additional resources

If you want to know more about this topic, please visit this link.

You can also read the file of the French blind football team (B1) : history, trophies and squad.

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