Powerchair Football is a competitive team sport for people with physical disabilities who use power wheelchairs. First played in France in the 1970s, the sport spread around Europe before a group of Vancouver athletes began playing a variation of the game in Canada in 1982. The game spread further afield to America and Japan before representatives of the nine playing nations formed the Federation Internationale de Powerchair Football Associations (FIPFA) in 2006.
The game is played in a gymnasium on a regulation basketball court, and two teams of four players use power chairs equipped with footguards to attack, defend and spin-kick a 13-inch (330 mm) football in an attempt to score goals. The official game is played for two halves of 20 minutes each, with the main objective of the game being the same as football: to score more goals than the opponent.
For those people looking for a competitive sport to play, the Powerchair Football World Cup is held every four years, with the second-ever tournament held in Paris, France in November 2011. The United States beat England 3-0 in regulation, and became the first US team to win back-to-back World Cup Championships in any sport.
In New Zealand there is a growing interest in Powerchair Football with a number of clubs developing throughout the country. This means there are opportunities for both the social and competitive player in New Zealand.
New Zealand Powerchair Football established its first national tournament in 2018 and selection of its first NZ Powerchair Football team better known as the Silver Strikers who competed for the first time at the Asia Pacific World Cup Qualifier Tournament in Sydney in 2019 against Australia and Japan. The platform for competitive players continues to grow in New Zealand.
To find out more about NZ Powerchair Football or to search for a local club please click here.