Countdown to the Games
17-25 June 2023


Telekom logo as Presenting Partner of our football competitions

Know your facts:

  • Football has been a sport at Special Olympics World Games since 1987
  • Unified Sports? Yes
  • Estimated number of athletes participating: 475 athletes+ 129 Unified partners

The goal of the Special Olympics football competitions is the same as football competitions all over the world: to get the ball into the net!

Special Olympics feature:

In our competitions seven players play against seven players with some special rules:

  • The goalkeeper throws the ball into play.
  • The goal has a size of 5x2 meters.
  • A team has a maximum of 12 players, substitutions are unlimited.
  • There is no offside rule.
  • After the ball has been out of bounds, it must be kicked back into play, and no direct goal can be scored.
  • There are two halves of 20 minutes each, with a five minute halftime break. 
  • If there is a tie at the end of the game, there will be two five-minute overtime periods. If no team is victorious after that, it goes directly to a penalty shootout.

We have four competitions:

  1. Team Competition - Women
  2. Team Competition - Men
  3. Unified Sports Team Competition - Women
  4. Unified Sports Team Competition - Men

By the way:

Football was played in China as early as the 3rd century B.C. At that time, the game was called Cuju, which means "kicking ball".


The football competitions are ticketed.



All timings of our competitions and award ceremonies.


Spectator Guide

All information for visiting football.

The photo shows two soccer teams just running onto the field.
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On the photo, there is a football player in action jumping towards the ball. His opponent is trying to stop him.
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On the photo, there are three football players during a match. One of them is kicking the ball while the other two are her opponents.
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The photo shows a football action scene. It was taken from behind the goal so the net is visible.
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In the photo you can see the soccer team of Special Olympics Germany. They are standing in a circle and shouting loudly.
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The photo shows two football players in action while one of them is dynamically kicking the ball.
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The photo shows a group of football players smiling and hugging on the pitch.
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The photo shows a football player running with the ball during competition.
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In the photo there is a soccer player who is holding the ball in his hand. He is wearing a gray t-shirt and looks concentrated.
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Football takes place at Maifeld on the grounds of Olympiapark.