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Blind Football technical visit to Paris 2024

Date: September 15, 2023

Category: Blind football

The IBSA Football Sport Committee Chairperson, Elias Mastoras, had a technical delegate visit at Paris 2024 Headquarters, exactly one year prior to the most spectacular edition of Blind Football in the Paralympic Games.

A first warm welcome was a surprising Blind Football video that was projected during the whole day at the headquarters, honouring the IF Sport visit.

The Paris 2024 Blind Football staff has recruited new members: Apart from Ludovic Heurley, who is Director both in Olympic and Paralympic Football, and Baptiste Dessendier, a new staff member who is an expert in blind football has been recruited, Remi Garranger.

A full day was dedicated to hourly meetings with different departments of Paris 2024. The first presentation was about transportation and the time between the dedicated mobility lane for the athletes and ITOs transfers from and to the paralympic village. It is estimated that it will take approximately half an hour.

The next meeting was a very important one: the venue design and a plan for the remaining year. We discussed the challenges while also highlighting the fact that it is the best-situated venue for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. It is a tipping point for our sport, and we will seize the opportunity to make the most of this unique opportunity.

A following meeting was about the look of the Games, specifically Blind Football. The tickets will be released on October 9, 2023. The overall idea looks impressive and very trendy. We should take into consideration that we expect up to 13,000 spectators in each game in an iconic venue in front of the symbol of the city during prime time, as well as the lights of the Eiffel Tower.

A following meeting was dedicated to sports equipment, a timeline, and a schedule of milestones in the coming year, e.g., draws, etc. A more dedicated 3D venue presentation took place, as the main point was accessibility and listening to a single ball with 13.000 spectators for the first time.

The next meeting was about the sports initiation and the construction of, for the first time, a blind football fan festival activation.

The Chairperson expressed his willingness to apply for organising such a fan zone for the first time ever in the Paralympic Games regarding blind football. Paris 2024 team presented the application, and there is an option to collaborate with the national federation to assist with the local reality with different activation slots. IBSA Blind Football is experienced in major showcases, participating in the UEFA Europa League 2023, the UEFA Champions League 2023, and the UEFA Super Cup 2023, with a great impact on the local community.

The last meeting was the presentation of the paralympic village and the services that will be provided to the athletes and ITOs. The TD and the ITOs will also stay in the village, a choice showing the love of the people involved in our sport rather than staying in a hotel.

The following day, a visit to the Eiffel Tower Blind Football Arena was scheduled with 35ยบ C shiny weather, exactly the period of the implementation of the Blind Football Games: 1-3/9/2024, four group games each day, 4 and 6/9/2024 rest days, 5/9 Semi finals 7/9 Finals during prime time.

The area over the fountain is where the 13,000-seat venue will be constructed. In front of the Eiffel Tower will be built the blind football initiation fan festival, and next to the venue will be the training pitch and all other additional spaces such as changing rooms, etc.

It is an iconic place where all blind footballers would like to join the Paris 2024 Blind Football Games. The seven teams that have already secured a slot are: France (host), Turkey (Europe), China (Asia and Oceania), Morocco (Africa), Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia (World Championship and the slots will be appointed after the ParapanAmerican Games in November 2023 in Santiago, Chile, run by the IPC).

Practically, the last slot will be taken either by Mexico, Chile, or Peru if they are the champions of the forthcoming ParaPanAmerican Blind Football Games in November, or by Japan as 5th in the IBSA Football World Championship in Birmingham 2023 (if Argentina, Brazil, or Colombia will be the champions of the ParapanAmerican Games).

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