What is Power Chair Football?
Power chair football is one of the only active participation sport for people who use powered wheelchairs. As one of the only fast-paced and dynamic activities that is fully inclusive for all ages, genders and abilities to take part in, it is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. With the support of the Football Association (FA) & the Wheelchair Football Association (WFA), it shows no sign of slowing down.
The objective of power chair football is for players to use their wheelchairs to manoeuvre the ball and score in the opposing teams goal. The game is typically played on an indoor 5-a-side football pitch with five players on each team, including the goal keeper using a slightly larger-than-normal football. During the game, the ball must only be moved by the power chair and not by the players hand, foot or body. Any intentional moving of the ball with a player's body is a violation and can be sanctioned with either a free-kick or penalty for the opposing team. The game is structured around that of normal football with a few rule exceptions.
Why should I play?
Power chair football is a great way to try something new and exciting, it's also a great way to meet new people and provides an opportunity to travel around the country playing against different teams. The social aspect of the game alone is a great reason in itself as it brings together people from around the country to have fun and share their stories, many often having similar stories to one another. Players enjoy the competitive nature of the game alongside being a part of a team and larger fan base. The WFA features some great player case studies on it's website too!
Can I use my own chair to play?
According to the FA, the player is allowed to use their own chair, however a WFA sanctioned attachment must be added to the base of the chair that not only protects the players power chair but also protects the players feet. It must be noted though, this is only recommended to start with - as the nature of power chair football can be semi-contact, some damage could be caused to the power chair after prolonged use. It’s best to speak to your local team to confirm this though.
How to get involved?
In the UK, after the 2012 Olympics, the FA created a Disability Talent Programme aimed at finding young people who had potential in sports and helping them get into training programmes designed to encourage them to realise their potential playing football whilst also helping to develop them as a person and improve their overall health and fitness.
At the moment there are around 19 WFA Cup teams throughout the UK and 6 regional leagues. To find out more about this programme, head to the Disability Football Directory for information on how to get involved with power chair football. So, what are you waiting for? Contact your local team today!