The International Walking Football Federation (IWFF) of Asia and Qatar continues to encourage several countries to join one of the fastest growing sport concepts in the world.
“We are busy preparing and affiliating lots of countries who are interested,” said IWFF Asia and Qatar president Farhan al-Sheikh al-Sayed at the recently-held Futbol Funatics – Global Connect virtual event, hosted by IWFF Philippines co-president Candice Grey-Del Rosario.
With 10 IWFF-affiliated countries in Asia, he said they are currently working on how to expand “a new and very beautiful concept” to other locations in the Philippines and other neighbouring countries.
Al-Sayed, who launched IWFF Asia and Qatar in Doha amid the Covid-19 outbreak with all the precautionary measures in place, underlined the importance of empowering women as a key part of the sport’s aims.
He stressed that empowering women also means empowering the rest of the community, which is an important part of the IWFF concept.
According to al-Sayed, Walking Football is “a confidence booster” where people of different ages and gender can enjoy playing a safe sport that they love.
“You don’t want to just sit down and surf the Internet all day or all night, you want to stay fit and active. It is also going to help you socialise as well. It is very important to stay happy,” he said, adding that the sport can also be for youth players (new generation) who may not be fit for the traditional football game for some reasons.
Al-Sayed said they are also working with various centres in Qatar which take care of ‘people with disabilities’, to introduce the sport.
“It brings a different kind of happiness and confidence which is very important to their health and wellness, especially for others who are going into some kind of anxieties during this pandemic,” he said.
Al-Sayed noted that Filipino communities abroad such as the Philippines Walking Football Club Qatar have been very active in the sport.
General rules of Walking Football:
• No running or jogging with or without the ball
• No slide tackles and physical contact
• Ball must be played below knee height
• Blue card if a player commits three infringements and must leave the game for two minutes
• Red card if a player return from the sin bin and commits a further three infringements and no further play in the game (sent off)
•A penalty kick is a direct free kick
Walking Football’s general goals:
•Promote health and wellness with an active lifestyle
•Keep former players active and involve new players
•Enable social interaction within all communities
•Aimed at avoiding injuries and help those with physical disadvantage
•Providing a positive playing environment
•No tackling to reduce risk for injuries
•No physical contact to protect walking footballers from having injuries during practice or matches
•No running or jogging to reduce risk of injuries while simultaneously promoting a game of fast passing and sound technique
•No ball above the knee height to encourage those fairly new to the sport to not fear the game