How to get involved with deaf football

Ensuring football is inclusive of players with different levels and types of hearing loss

Football is For All

We work in partnership with key partners such as UK Deaf Sport, England Deaf Football and the National Deaf Children’s Society to ensure football is inclusive of players with different levels and types of hearing loss.


Within deaf-specific competitions, such as the English Deaf Football (EDF) League & Cup, all players must have a hearing loss of 55dB minimum in their better ear to qualify to play. Players must send audiograms (records of hearing tests) to the governing body office to be verified and registered with the International Deaflympics Committee.

Rule adaptations

Deaf specific competitions such as those previously mentioned follow either futsal or 11-a-side laws of the game, as laid down by FIFA, with only one adaptation:

- All players must remove their hearing aids and cochlear implants during games to ensure a degree of fairness for all players

The above adaptation is only applicable to official deaf-specific competitions as official FA guidelines state that players are permitted to wear hearing technology during mainstream and pan-disability football matches. The decision on whether to wear a hearing aid during a match is up to the player and their parents, not the match referee.

A set of guidelines for refereeing football matches involving deaf footballers have been produced in partnership with the National Deaf Children’s Society. Download these guidelines from the resources below.

Grassroots player pathway & competition structures

As of January 2019, there were 52 affiliated deaf football teams across England, a number of which compete in mainstream leagues and competitions alongside a variety of deaf-specific competitions and less-formal turn-up-and-play opportunities for those who simply prefer a kick-around with friends.

We work in partnership with England Deaf Football, who oversee a national league and cup structure for adult teams while The English Schools FA host a National Deaf Schools Cup.

For more information about opportunities in your local area, please contact your local County FA.

Find out more information about the national league.

Useful Resources