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The sport of 7 a side football is an adaption of association football. This type of adaption is for athletes with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders; this can include stroke and traumatic brain injury.
In order to compete, athletes must be 15 years of age on the 1st January of the year the competition is taking place.
The football pitch used for game measures 75m x 55m. The goal measures 4.88m x 1.83m.
A seven a side team consists of 6 outfield players and a goalkeeper, and may have up to three substitutes.
The equipment needed to compete is a football jersey, shorts, socks, football boots and of course a football. A player must also have a number on their back of their jersey.
A match lasts for two periods of 30 minutes, with a 15 minute rest period between the two halves.
The offside rule is not applied. As there is no offside, players can position themselves anywhere on the pitch. This type of football is played at a quicker pace than an 11 a side game because it is played without the offside rule.
Like an 11 a side game of football, the officials are a referee and two assistant referees on either side of the pitch.
Players are classed into groups depending on their level of disability. The classes eligible for 7 a side football are C5, C6, C7 and C8.
C5: This group is for athletes with difficulty walking but not standing or kicking a ball.
C6: This group is for athletes with control or co-ordination problems in the upper limbs.
C7: This is for athletes with hemiplegia. (Hemiplegia is total paralysis of the arm, leg and trunk on the same side of the body.)
C8: This group is for athletes with minimal disabilites.
Teams must field at least one C5 or C6 player at all times. No more than two C8 players on the pitch at once.
7 a side football became a part of Summer Paralympic Games in the 1984 Summer Olympics in New York. It has been played in every Summer Paralympic Games since.
The rule for throw-ins has also been modified. Only one-handed throw-ins are allowed to get the ball back into play when it crosses the line.
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