Amputee football was first played competitively in America in the 1980s. America, England, Russia, Brazil and Uzbekistan were among the first nations to adopt the sport and compete on the international stage. Today the sport is played by 31 nations from across the world, 20 of which competed at the most recent Amputee Football World Cup in Culiacan, Mexico, in 2014. Not yet a Paralympic sport, Amputee Football was considered for inclusion in the games at the most recent Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia in 2014.
Since 2012 Poland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Georgia and Scotland have embraced the sport.
In February 2015, 12 European nations - including Ireland, Great Britain, Turkey and current world champions Russia, formed the European Amputee Football Federation. The EAFF will begin hosting a biannual Amputee Football European Championship from 2017, with the first taking place in October this year in Turkey.
The world game is governed by the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) and the Amputee Football World Cup is held every two years. Past winners of the competition include, Brazil, Uzbekistan and Russia.
amputee football: the rules
The rules of amputee football vary little from those of mainstream football. Below are the rules set out by the European Amputee Football Federation...
An amputee is defined as someone who is 'abbreviated' at or near the ankle or wrist. Outfield players may have two hands but only one leg.
Goalkeepers may have two feet but only one hand. The game is played with metal crutches and without prostheses.
Players may not use crutches to advance, control or block the ball. Such an action will be penalised in the same way as a hand-ball infringement. However, incidental contact between crutch and ball is tolerated. Players may not use their residual limbs to voluntarily advance, control or block the ball. Such an action will be penalised in the same way as a hand-ball infringement. However, incidental contact between residual limb and ball is tolerated.
Use of a crutch against a player will lead to ejection from the game and a penalty kick for the opposing team.
Shin pads must be worn.
Playing pitches measure a maximum of 70 x 60 metres.
Goals measure 2.2 metres maximum (height) x 5 metres maximum (width) x 1 metre (depth).
Ball used is FIFA standard.
Games consist of 2 x 25 minute halves (variable according to the tournament), with a ten-minute rest period in between. Both teams are allowed one, one-minute, time-out per half.
The Offside rule does not apply in Amputee Football.
International rules stipulate that a team be made up of six outfield players and a goalkeeper. However, certain tournaments require teams of four outfield players and a goalkeeper.
A goalkeeper is not permitted to leave his or her area. Should this occur deliberately, the goalkeeper will be ejected from the game and the opposing team awarded a penalty kick.
An unlimited number of substitutions can be made, at any point during the game.