Blind football women’s World Championships pushed back to 2023

The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football have announced that the first Women’s World Championships will now take place at the 2023 IBSA World Games in Birmingham, Great Britain.

The competition was originally scheduled for November 2021 in Enugu, Nigeria. However due to national restrictions currently in place as a result of COVID-19, it is no longer practical for it to go ahead this year.

Ulrich Pfisterer, Chair of the IBSA Blind Football Committee, said: “Following a visit by Toussaint Akpweh, the Technical Delegate for the competition, earlier this month, we made the difficult decision to delay this historic tournament.

“We are so grateful to the Bina Foundation who have done everything in their power to ensure the first women’s World Championships would be a memorable one. We are however very excited that the 2023 IBSA World Games – the world’s biggest gathering of athletes with visual impairments – will play host instead. Enugu and Nigeria will still play a key role in the development of the women’s game in the coming years.”

Following Akphweh’s site visit, the Committee originally made the decision to postpone the World Championships in Nigeria to 2022. However, given the next edition was scheduled to take place at Birmingham 2023, it was decided to change the competition to the first Women’s Blind Football World Grand Prix.

IBSA has been developing women’s blind football over the past years, with development camps and tournaments held in Vienna in 2017 and Tokyo in 2019.

Women’s blind football continues to grow globally and achieve new accomplishments. One recent example came about in a friendly match between Switzerland and Austria held as part of the International Blind Football Foundation Neighbouring Countries Challenge Series. In the second of the two matches, Austria kicked off the game with an all-woman starting line-up, the very first time this has happened at a mixed-gender blind football competition.

The World Grand Prix will join the successful men’s edition, the most recent of which was held in Tokyo in June.