The history of the IBSA Blind Football European Championships
The very first IBSA Blind Football European Championships took place in Barcelona in 1997. Since then the tournament has grown in size as has the sport eventually achieving the coveted prize of a place amongst the Paralympic sports at the Athens games in 2004.
Since 1997 the Championships have been held all across Europe from Porto and Aksaray in Turkey to Athens and most recently Hereford in the UK.
Spain were the inaugural winners in 1997 winning in their home tournament in Barcelona and retained the crown 2 years later in Porto beating Great Britain in the final. The theme of home nations winning the event resumed in 2001 in Paris with France defeating England in the final. France went onto win another home championships in the 2009 edition in Nantes again beating the England side in the final. France’s domination of the tournament continued in 2011 winning the tournament staged in Aksaray, Turkey overcoming Spain in the final and third placed England. The Loana, Italy Championships saw Spain defeat 2012 Paralympic games silver medalists France to be crowned champions.
The 2015 IBSA European Championships were held in Hereford with Turkey coming away with the glory defeating Russia in the final and Spain coming third. Subsequently Turkey and Spain were the European qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. However in finishing 5th and 6th respectively both teams will be looking to get back to winning ways in Berlin in August with all the other nations gunning to knock them off the European Podium.
1997 – Barcelona (Spain)
1999 – Porto (Portugal)
2001 – Paris (France)
2003 – Manchester (Great Britain)
2005 – Malaga (Spain)
2007 – Athens (Greece)
2009 – Nantes (France)
2011 – Aksaray (Turkey)
2013 – Loano (Italy)
2015 – Hereford (Great Britain)