Walking football is a version of Association Football that is aimed at keeping older people involved with football if, due to a lack of mobility or for other reason, they are not able to play the traditional game.
Walking Football was devised, during 2011, and has since become the fastest growing variant of football.
There are now more than 800 walking football clubs in the UK alone, and the FA has issued an official rulebook.
It was invented to inspire players over 50 to get more exercise and counter social isolation, and now thousands are rediscovering the joys of football by playing it at a more leisurely pace.
Many clubs and tournaments have introduced an over 60s qualifications and some regular players are well into their 80s.
In essence, football without running that more closely resembles the 5-a-side than 11-a-side game.
It has very specific rules that outlaw all running and some leagues allow no contact between players.
If a player runs then they concede a free kick to the other side.
This restriction, together with a ban on slide tackles (and tacking all together in some leagues), is aimed both at avoiding injuries and facilitating the playing of the sport by those who are physically disadvantaged.
Over-head or hip height restrictions and indirect free kicks ensure that the sport is played safely with full consideration to the participants’ age.
Teams are either 5 or 6-a-side and as a result of these rules, games are played at a slower pace, often on artificial grass pitches, thus reducing the threat of pain, discomfort and injury, with players briskly walking through matches.
This allows people who have loved the sport all their lives to once again safely get back to playing and also introduces the sport to people who perhaps have never considered playing before.
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