The World Amputee Football Federation is the international governing body for Amputee Football. First formed in 2005 at a world congress in Brazil, the invention of the game stretches back as far as 1982. The founding members were Argentina, Brazil, England, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the USA. Don Bennett of Seattle is regarded as the original inventor of the game. Having always had an active outdoor life, Don lost his leg in a boating accident. It was during an exchange with his son’s basketball practice, that the idea of kicking a football while on crutches originated. In 1984 Seattle hosted the first international amputee soccer tournament attended by over 8000 spectators.
The game grew steadily and in 1991 the first World Cup outside of America was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. There have been ten World Cup tournaments and three World Championships. The World Amputee Football Federation have been actively involved in growing the game internationally. Considering that it is a very inexpensive sport to be involved with, it has given many participants a renewed opportunity to play football. A team consists of seven players. Six are outfield players with the seventh as the goalkeeper. The outfield players have lower extremity amputations and play without their prosthesis. Movement is aided with forearm crutches. The goalkeeper has an upper extremity amputation. Outfield players are classified as players who may have two hands, but only one leg, whereas goalkeepers have only one hand, but may have two feet. In all situations except for one, matches are played with metal crutches and without prosthesis. However, a bi-lateral amputee is permitted to play with a prosthesis.
Players do not use their metal crutches to move or block the ball, but accidental contact is allowed. Where a player has used the crutch to move or block the ball, it is penalised in the same way as a handball infringement. A crutch may also not be used against another player and this offence leads to an ejection from the game. In addition, the use of residual limps to advance or contact the ball, is also not permitted. A standard FIFA ball is used, and a match normally consists of two 25-minute halves. The rest period is ten minutes. During a match, a two-minute time-out is allowed. Goalkeepers have designated areas and are not allowed to leave this area. Should it occur deliberately, the player will be ejected from the match and the opposing team awarded a penalty. The offside rule does not apply in amputee football.