The FA

Colour Blindness in football

The FA has published guidance notes to create awareness of the condition

Monday 19 Jun 2017

One in 12 men and one in 200 women are affected by colour blindness, and The Football Association has published guidance notes on the condition to raise awareness of its impact on football.

The detailed guidance publication – complete with visual examples – has been produced by The FA in conjunction with Colour Blind Awareness, the leading UK organisation devoted to the issue. It also has the full support of UEFA, who intend disseminating the guidance to all the football governing bodies under its umbrella.

As well as spectators, players, coaches and referees who are colour-blind face everyday problems. Former Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town midfielder Matt Holland, who is colour blind, said: “In one particular match when we were in red and the opponents were in dark green I couldn’t tell the colours apart. 

Issues in Football
  • Kit clashes - between players, goalkeepers, match officials, the playing surface
  • Equipment - balls, bibs, training cones, line markings
  • Venues - facilities, way-finding, safety signage, lighting
  • Information - digital, ticket purchasing, matchday programmes
  • TV coverage - graphics, long-distance camera angles

“I had to really concentrate in that game looking at socks, because they were easier for me to distinguish. There was nothing else I could do.”

Norway national team manager Lars Lagerback added: “If the play moves very quickly it's easy to end up in a situation where you have a hard time telling if the other player is an opponent or a member of your own team.”

The guidance explains the different types of colour blindness, answers common questions and provides suggested positive interventions with those who may be affected. 

It gives best-practice visual examples to avoid kit clashes, and includes a series of simulations to show the normally-sighted what colour-blind people are likely to see.

The guidance notes are available to download below.

Useful Resources

By FA Staff