There are more opportunities than ever to get involved with grassroots disability football

An introduction to grassroots disability football

There are now more opportunities than ever to play football if you have a disability both in education or community-based settings.

At grassroots level, opportunities exist across three main pathways: pan-disability, impairment-specific and traditional mainstream.

Pan-disability football
Pan-disability football allows players with a broad spectrum of disabilities, impairment and health conditions to play together. Typically the only players excluded from this format will be those who use a wheelchair or those who are blind (see the impairment specific section for details of how wheelchair users and blind footballers can get involved).

To find out more about pan-disability football, click here.

Traditionally disability sport has developed along impairment-specific lines which means that players with more or less the same impairment play against players with similar impairments. Football is no different and there are a range of different impairment specific pathways in England.

Impairment specific football often gives players the best possible experience of the game as each format and its associated laws of the game are adapted and tailored to meet the needs of the specific impairment group whilst each format has a clear set of eligibility and classification systems which are designed to try and ensure fair competition.

Impairment specific football can also offer a route into international competition with international federations organising international competition cycles including World and European championships across amputee, blind, cerebral palsy. deaf, learning disability, partially sighted and powerchair football. Find out about our England teams.

At grassroots there are impairment specific opportunities for other impairment groups such as Downs Syndrome, dwarfs/restricted growth, mental health and frame users however there is no recognised national representation currently available.

Find out more about the different formats available.


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We work in partnership with the County FA network and a range of other partners to ensure opportunities to play exist at a local level across all three pathways.

There has been significant growth in recent years that has seen the number of disability specific team’s increase from 384 in 2009 to over 2200 as of January 2019 whilst a network less formalised recreation centres are also delivered by County FAs and their partners.

We've also announced further investment into disability football via The FA disability workforce fund (DWF) which has seen the creation of a network of 45 disability-specific football development officers, each with a remit of retaining and growing participation levels.

As part of this investment it is our ambition to increase participation across disability football by a further 30 per cent by the close of season 2020-21.

For information about your local officer, contact your County FA.

The FA is also working closely with the Premier League and English Football League Trust who both also provide opportunities for disabled people to play.