Melbourne City FC has continued its support of Blind Sports Australia (BSA), with the Club hosting the announcement of the inaugural national blind football squad at the City Football Academy in Melbourne on Monday.
The squad announcement follows BSA’s recently announced national program, Australian Blind Football (ABF), which has been introduced to develop blind football across the country and includes the creation of national teams to compete on the international stage.
David Connolly, Australian Blind Football Coordinator, made the announcement , with the program providing people who are blind or vision impaired to play football and represent their country on the international stage.
The announcement took place in partnership with Melbourne City FC on Monday, following the A-League team’s training session at the City Football Academy.
Melbourne City FC is a long-time supporter of blind football, having been involved since blind football’s inception in Melbourne in 2014.
Blind football is played in two formats at an international level. Blind football (B1), which is played by athletes who are totally blind. This format is a Paralympic sport and has World and Regional Championships. Vision impaired/partially sighted football (B2/B3), which is played by athletes who have a vision impairment. This format has World and Regional Championships.
Until now, national pathways in both formats didn’t exist in Australia. Australian Blind Football’s first-ever national blind football squad is made up of blind football (B1) and vision impaired/partially sighted (B2/B3) players from across the country.
Melbourne City’s support of Blind Football has seen the Club hold a range of different clinics and programs for those with vision impairment since 2014. Melbourne City’s charity arm, City in the Community, works closely with BSA and Social Goal Australia to deliver a range of blind football clinics.
The Manchester City Supporters Club of Melbourne has also donated $2500 to CITC’s Blind Football program, which has featured on the pitch at half-time of Melbourne City FC’s A-League matches.
The modified version of the game uses an audible ball as participants use the sound to guide them towards the ball.