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Special Olympics: Football Rules Explained

In order to encourage participation and opportunities for atheletes of all abilities the rules in Special Olympic football differ slightly from those in regular football. Here's our article to explain them.

For the Special Olympics there are a range of football events. However, their rules differ slightly from those of conventional football so we have explained them below:

The Football Team competitions consists of three different footballing events (we have also included the rulings for the ISC competition) :

Individual Skills Competition:

This event consists of three different events, dribbling, shooting and run & kick. Each athlete will have to perform each event once. The total score from the three events is used to place players in divisions with others of similar ability, for the medal round. During the medal round each participant will perform each event twice and the total score from the two rounds is added together to give the final score.

5-a-side Team:

  • The squad size for each team is 10 players
  • Substitutions are unlimited or roll on/ roll off
  • The game is played over 30 minutes, with two 15 minute halves and a 5 minute half-time break
  • If the ball travels outside the side-line this results in a kick-in instead of a throw-in

7-a-side Team:

  • The size of pitch must be a rectangle of a maximum of 70x50 metres and a minimum of 50x35 metres
  • The squad size is 12 players
  • Subs are unlimited
  • The match is played over 40 minutes, with two 20 minute halves and an interval of 5 minutes between them
  • Kick-ins are used

11-a-side Team:

  • The maximum squad size is 16 players
  • Limited Subs are used and players are not allowed to return to the pitch once substituted
  • Throw-ins are used
  • Played over two 45 minute halves

There will also be three separate competitions with the same team numbers so 5-a-side, 7-a-side, 11-a-side of unified sides with athletes and special guests to encourage the idea that football is for everyone!

Awards for the football competitions will be awarded on 1st August at the Drake Stadium (11-a-side), North Athletic Field (11-a-side), Intramural Field (5-a-side & 7-a-side).

You can find further rulings for the Special Olympics football competitions here - http://www.la2015.org/sports/football.

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