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Expert opinion on classification for footballers with vision impairment: Towards evidence-based minimum impairment criteria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Oliver R Runswick, Rianne H J C Ravensbergen, Peter M Allen, David L Mann

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue numbersup1
Early online date7 Feb 2021
Accepted/In press2021
E-pub ahead of print7 Feb 2021
Published13 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This project has been carried out with the support of a Classification Research Grant from the International Paralympic Committee. OR, DM, RR and PA receive funding from the International Paralympic Committee and International Blind Sports Federation. PA, DM and RR receive research funding via a Collaborative Research Grant from the College of Optometrists. Funding Information: This work was supported by the International Paralympic Commitee. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


King's Authors


In Para sport, the aim of classification is to minimize the impact of impairment on the outcome of competition. Despite requirements of the International Paralympic Committee Athlete Classification Code for classification to be evidence-based and sport-specific, sports for athletes with VI, including football, use the same generic classes across almost all sports. The aim of this study was to consult with experts to establish the needs and challenges for developing a code-compliant system of classification for VI football. A panel of 18 experts with international experience in VI football (16.8 ± 10.2 years) took part in a three-round Delphi study using online surveys. Results showed that the panel did not think that the current system completely fulfils the aim of classification. The panel identified measures of visual function they considered to be relevant but are not currently measured during classification including dynamic acuity, depth and motion perception, and contrast and light sensitivity. Moreover, they identified technical skills such as ball control, dribbling and passing, as well as perceptual-cognitive skills, as most likely to be affected by vision impairment. Findings outline the need for change and offer a framework for future research to develop an evidence-based classification for VI football.

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