Referee picked for disability futsal world championship

Referee Andy Page has been selected for the IBSA World Championships.
Referee Andy Page has been selected for the IBSA World Championships.

An Ilkeston man has been selected by the Football Association to referee at an international football tournament for partially sighted people.

Andy Page, 52, of Rayneham Road, will represent England at the IBSA Partially Sighted B2/B3 Football World Championships.

Eight teams will compete to be crowned champions in Cagliari, Italy, from May 26 to June 4.

Andy said: “I’m very proud to be representing Derbyshire officials on the world stage.

“The competition will be very intense as the standard of futsal is very high.”

Andy has been a referee for 35 years, starting on local leagues before becoming a Football League assistant referee, and then working his way into disability football.

In 2014, he was selected to represent the country at the European Deaf Futsal Championships in Bulgaria, and is the only referee to represent England in European finals across deaf, blind and partially sighted football.

Andy added: “A personal highlight for me is giving something back into disability football. The players really give their all, and this is great to be a part of.”

Futsal is a slightly adapted version of five-a-side football, and features a heavier ball to encourage more skilful play.

Ukraine will defend the title they won at the 2015 IBSA World Games in Seoul, South Korea.

IBSA, the International Blind Sports Federation, was founded in 1981, and now holds regular competitions in sports ranging from alpine skiing to tandem cycling.

Football is one of the most popular sports for people with a visual impairment worldwide, and IBSA hosts B1 tournaments for players who are completely blind, and B2/B3 for those who are partially sighted.