Scotland has withdrawn from the Cerebral Palsy, leaving players shocked after the Scottish Football Association announced their withdrawal on Friday.
Following the International Federation for Cerebral Palsy Football’s (IFCPF) decision to allow UK citizens to choose which of the home nations they will represent, the Scottish FA immediately withdrew from the tournament. The Scottish FA fears that this could set a precedent for other levels of international football and so refused to participate and endorse the change to the rules.
A survivor of the Chapecoense plane crash has stated that he wants to represent Brazil at the Paralympic Games. The former goalkeeper for the team, Jackson Follmann who survived the plane crash revealed to media upon visiting the Brazilian Paralympic Committee that he wants to play for Brazil at a future Paralympic Games.
Follman survived last November’s plane crash as one of just six people to survive the tragic incident. Since then he has had to have his right leg amputated, and still has his left leg in a cast as he continues to receive treatment.
After months in a wheelchair Follman has had his prosthetic leg fitted and is back on his feet walking again with the help of a physiotherapist. That has got his competitive juices flowing again and, now unable to play for Chapecoense, he finds himself looking at the Paralympic Games.
Follman has spoken about wanting to get back to a normal life, including marrying his girlfriend, and part of Follman’s normal life includes playing football. With that in mind he said to the media that he would like to play football at the Paralympic Games.
Unfortunately for Follman, amputee football is not currently a Paralympic sport with the closest being 7-a-side football. That is open to athletes with neurological impairments, most especially Cereberal Palsy, and while nominally the FT8 classification could classify Follman as he does have an obvious impairment that has impacted football, an amputation would not meet the other eligibility criteria needed, depending on if he’d sustained any neurological injuries due to the plane crash.
That would not necessarily disqualify Follman from the Paralympic Games as a number of Paralympians came to their Paralympic Sport after competing in a different sport before their impairment. The most notable is Zahra Nemati who competed in Taekwondo before her car accident that left her in a wheelchair and saw her transition to archery which she was able to compete in at both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Rio last year.
Classification: All athletes competing have cerebral palsy of different levels with classification ranging from C5-C8 with C5 the most severe and C8 the least. One class C5 or C6 player must be on the pitch at all times, only one C8 player is allowed on the field at a time.
Venue: Deodoro Olympic Park
Athlete Quota: 112 (eight teams)
International Federation: Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA)
Defending Champions: Russia
Another sport where the absence of Russia will be felt, Football 7-a-side will be missing their defending Paralympic Champions. That would weaken the tournament, but it opened the door for Iran, who had no path to qualification, despite winning bronze in London, and so they have replaced Russia with another team that has a chance at a medal.
That leaves the path open for Ukraine, who won silver in 2012 and come in as the top ranked side in the world, the battle between Ukraine and Russia has been intense over the last four years. Ukraine come in as European Champions, but came second behind Russia at the World Championships making them favorites here in Rio.
With that said, hosts Brazil could well come up and surprise for the gold, with the backing of a strong home crowd who love football. Brazil will be the second highest ranked side at the Games and could benefit greatly from Russia’s absence.
The biggest improving side of the past four years has been the Netherlands who stunned Russia at the European Championships beating them in the semi-finals. That saw the Dutch finish second and currently sit fourth in the world, a potential shot at a medal.