Special Olympics International´s (SOI) Sports Rules Advisory Committee approved during its meeting in Hawaii the proposal from the Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE) working group concerning the adapted Floorball rules and recommendations for intellectually disabled persons. Hereby Floorball has received the status of a "Recognised Sport" in the Special Olympics.
Floorball has taken its first steps towards being recognised as an Official Special Olympics (SO) Sport.
The adapted Floorball rules are based on the IFF´s Rules of the Game, but with the 4 versus 4 (3 + goalkeeper) on small field (20m x 12m) included. The 4 versus 4 version is included as it is easier to establish teams and to organise tournaments with fewer players and smaller fields. The Special Olympics Europe expects that the "smaller" Floorball countries will play the 4 versus 4 version whereas the "bigger" Floorball countries will play more on big field with 6 versus 6 (5+1).
In addition to these two game versions the Special Olympics have also included Individual Skills Contests into their program. These contain technical tests adapted for players who are not capable of participating in the matches.
As a Special Olympics recognised sport there is a possibility to become an Official Special Olympics Sport if the sport is played in at least 24 countries on three continents within two years. It is also required that these countries organise their own national championships for intellectually disabled persons. As an Official Sport the sport will be included in the Special Olympics World Games. To mantain the status as a recognised Sport in 2009/2010 Floorball needs to be payed in 12 countries on two continents.
The goal for the Special Olympics working group is to have Floorball included as a demonstration sport in the SO Winter World Games 2013.
The SO Rules of the game will be available in March 2009 on www.specialolympics.org
Special Olympics is a global nonprofit organisation serving the nearly 200 million people with intellectual disabilities, with a presence in nearly 200 countries worldwide.
Source: Mr. Jesper Hviid, Sports Director, Special Olympics Denmark.