Accepted paper:

Football of the Blind: A Sport Between Inclusion, Leisure Time and Competitiveness


Rolf Husmann (University of Göttingen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper introduces "Football of the Blind" and analyses the social and sporting backgrounds of the players in the German "Blindenfussball-Bundesliga". While some practise it as a competitive sport, other blind footballers play it as a leisure actvity. On top of it, it also serves a function for the inclusion of handicapped into German society.

Paper long abstract:

"Football of the Blind" was introduced to Germany in 2005 and, although still largely unnoticed by the public, has since secured its safe place in the range of sporting activities in Germany. In 2008, the "Blindenfussball-Bundesliga" started with MTV Stuttgart as the most successful club. The national team coached by Uli Pfisterer competes on an international level and is among the four best European teams. Based on ethnographic research and documentary filmwork among most of the dozen German teams, this paper presents an overview of the activities in Germany and analyses the social, ethnic and sporting backgrounds of the majority of the active players in Germany. It presents this sporting practice as a mix of competitive sport, a leisure-time activity and successful inclusion of handicapped into mainstream society. Short film excerpts illustrate the skills, technics and tactics of this sport.

panel G24
The anthropology of sport in a changing world