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Blindfolds, Brazilians and soccer balls ...

The Brazilian Embassy and the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind
Media Release
21 November 2005

Blindfolds, Brazilians and soccer balls…

Yes it will be all about blindfolds, Brazilians and soccer balls in Wellington on 23 November when one of the first games of blind soccer will be played in New Zealand.

The game will be part of a ceremony to celebrate the donation of 50 audio soccer balls from the Government of Brazil’s Ministry of Sport to the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB).

“Blind soccer, or football as we call it, is a popular sport in Brazil and we are excited to be able to bring these high quality audible balls and the game of blind soccer to New Zealand,” says Brazilian Ambassador, Mr. Sergio B. Serra, who will be presenting the balls at the ceremony.

“This is an acknowledgement of the outstanding work that the Foundation has been doing especially in the area of sport and recreation by facilitating and encouraging blind, deafblind and vision-impaired New Zealanders to get involved in sport”.

A team of four blind and vision-impaired RNZFB members will take on four Brazilians in a game of blind soccer which is played either indoors or outdoors on a 20 by 40 meter surface and requires all players to be blindfolded for fairness.

The soccer balls, which are produced in Brazil and considered the best of their kind by FIFA, have little bells inside them so players can track the ball.

“These soccer balls are going to allow us to establish blind soccer in New Zealand and are a valuable resource we will be able to use in conjunction with our sport and recreation services,” says Tim Prendergast, RNZFB Recreation Adviser and gold medalist at the 2004 Paralympics.

Blind soccer was developed in the early eighties and the first international championships were held in Spain in 1986 and since then the sport has a strong following worldwide.

The ceremony and game is open to the public and if you’d like to attend the details are as follows:

When: Wednesday 23 November at 4.30pm
Where: Massey University Recreation Centre, Tasman St, Mt Cook, Wellington


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