About Goalball UK
Goalball UK is the national governing body for the sport of goalball in the United Kingdom. As a registered charity, our mission is to develop and promote the sport of goalball, creating opportunities for people with visual impairments to participate and compete at all levels.
Goalball UK provides support and guidance to players, coaches, officials, and clubs across the country, with a focus on promoting inclusivity and equality in sport.
The organisation also works closely with schools and community groups to introduce goalball to new players and raise awareness of the sport’s benefits.
Through its partnerships with other organisations, Goalball UK strives to increase the visibility and accessibility of goalball, both nationally and internationally. The organisation also hosts events and three levels of competitions throughout the year.
As a sport, goalball offers a unique and exciting experience for players and spectators alike. With its emphasis on teamwork, communication, and skill, goalball is a sport that is accessible to all, regardless of age, ability, or background.
What is Goalball?
Goalball is an exciting Paralympic, indoor, 3-aside team sport, of attack and defend – with a unique twist!
The sport was originally devised in 1946 to help rehabilitate soldiers who had lost their sight during the war. It has been played throughout the world ever since, at the highest level, by people who are blind or partially sighted. The idea of the game is to score goals by bowling the ball along the floor, past the opposing team.
How do I play goalball?
Goalball is a truly inclusive sport in that fully sighted players can also play domestically. This is because everybody is required to wear eyeshades so that nobody can see. Players, therefore, have to rely entirely on their other senses.
The ball used in the game has internal bells that make noise, enabling players to track its movement. Meanwhile, the court has tactile lines, which allows players to feel where they are.
To win the game, players must throw the ball (along the floor) into the opposing team’s goal while protecting their own goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the game is the winner. At the elite level, the game consists of two halves of 12 minutes each, following the stop clock. Usually, the game lasts for approximately 50 minutes.
To find your nearest Goalball club, please visit the club teams section of the Goalball UK website. Link: https://goalballuk.com/the-sport/clubs/ or register your interest by calling 0114 2235670 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pathways and Competition
There are three levels of play within the Goalball UK National League (Regional, Intermediate and Super). Each level of play also has one national cup competition per season. Stand alone competitions for individual entry also take place.
For information about the domestic league and competitive playing opportunities, please contact Tom Dobson, Club and Competitions Officer: Tom.Dobson@goalballuk.com or 07526 169288.
Goalball is a Paralympic sport, with only one classification. While most Paralympic Games’ venues are filled with cheers and applause, the Goalball arena remains quiet during play. This is to allow the players to hear the ball, which has bells inside it.
In goalball, the sport classes are B1, B2 or B3. B1 and B2 players have the most severe impairments.
All athletes compete together on the same team but have to wear eyeshades. This helps to ensure a level-playing field for all team members.
For more information on national classifications please visit the British Blind Sport classification page: https://britishblindsport.org.uk/educationandresearch/classifications/.
For information on international classification please visit the IBSA classification webpage: https://ibsasport.org/fair-sport/classification/overview/.
History of goalball
Goalball was invented in 1946 to help the rehabilitation of blinded war veterans. It was added to the Paralympics in 1976 and there is no able bodied alternative.