The History of Powerchair Football

Powerchair Football in Canada during the 80s.

1978 – France develops “Football in electric wheelchairs” for young people with severe disabilities.

1979 – Independently, Canada starts to develop a sport called “Power Soccer” which soon made its way to the USA and Japan. At the same time, “Wheelchair Football” was being played in Belgium, Portugal and Switzerland.

1980s and 1990s – Several styles of play developed without contact between nations. All were inspired by the Canadian and French models and each adapted their play to meet their own requirements.

French player shoots for goal.

2005 and 2006 – The founding federations (France, the United States, Canada, Japan, England and Portugal) met in Paris with the goal of making the sport international. Denmark and Belgium joined this group at a meeting in Portugal. In 2006, the international governing body, FIPFA, was formed and the new rule book was ratified after a testing event in the USA.

French players using a basketball for a ball.

2007 – The inaugural FIPFA World Cup was held in Tokyo, Japan in October of 2007. The original eight teams competed to be crowned the first powerchair football world champions, with the USA taking home the title.

2008 to 2010 – International club competitions began to arrive, with two editions of the EPFA Champions League held in France in 2008 and England in 2010. The Americas Cup was held in the USA in 2009 and in Canada in 2010. During this time, the sport arrived in Australia via a development event in Singapore.

2011- A development event was held in Sydney with athletes, coaches and referees from the USA, France and Japan in attendance. Paris hosted the 2nd FIPFA World Cup – where Australia, Ireland and Switzerland made their World Cup debuts – which was once again won by the USA.

USA’s Michael Archer dribbles between two French players.

2013 – The Strike Force powerchair arrives on the scene, the first specialised wheelchair for powerchair football. This allowed athletes to no longer be reliant on their everyday chairs to play sport.

2014 – France wins the inaugural EPFA Nations Cup with a victory over England at the University of Limerick in Ireland. The USA also take home the Americas Cup trophy from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a dominant victory over Australia (invited from outside the zone).

2017 – The 3rd FIPFA World Cup was held in Kissimmee, Florida and was won by France for the first time.

2018 – Australia is awarded the hosting rights for the 2022 FIPFA World Cup!

2019 – Australia hosts the 2nd APO (Asia Pacific Oceania) Cup at Sydney Olympic Park’s Quay Centre, beating both Japan and New Zealand to claim their first APO Cup title. England also take out their first EPFA Nations Cup title, hosted by Finland, with an epic comeback to win via penalties over World Champions, France. The USA also won the Americas’ Cup, remaining undefeated throughout the tournament held in Rio de Janeiro.