Learning disability football

How to get involved with learning disability football

Learning disability Football

There are three eligibility criteria which must be met for a player to be eligible to play this format of football:

  1. The person must have an IQ of 75 or below
  2. The person must have limited ‘adaptive behaviour’ which means they might need help with everyday tasks, for example cooking or travelling by public transport
  3. The learning disability must have occurred before the age of 18


Classification in the UK is managed by the UK Sports Association. Before applying, you should consider carefully whether a classification is needed, and which level to apply for. The type of classification required will depend upon the level at which the player competes. Most local and regional football competitions do not require a formal UK Sports Association National Classification although proof of eligibility may be requested. If players progress beyond the grassroots player pathway it is highly likely that a formal UK (national) and/or an International INAS classification will be needed.

For more information about requirements for local competitions, please contact your local County FA.

Rule adaptations

Internationally there are no adaptations to the laws of the game with FIFA’s 11-a-side or futsal laws adopted. Domestically, at a grassroots level, there are a range of competitions available that vary across five-a-side to 11-a-side football formats.

Grassroots player pathway & competition structures

As of January 2019 there were over 160 affiliated learning disability football teams across the country, while a high proportion of players with a learning disability also play within pan-disability football teams and competitions. In addition to this, there are a range of less-formal turn-up-and-play kick-about sessions and various local, regional and national competitions held by organisations such as Mencap and Special Olympics GB.

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