Seven teams from across the Capital took part in London’s Walking Football Games at an event staged last week (20th October 2016) at Ferndale Community Sports Centre in Brixton.
The event, which was run by leisure operator Better in association with the Football Association (FA), saw more than 70 over 55 year olds, representing seven different London boroughs take part.
The competition was won by Islington with Waltham Forest the runners up. Local representatives Lambeth could only muster sixth place.
Commenting on the event winning team player David Williams said: “I have always enjoyed playing football hugely. Walking football means I can extend the time I can play the sport at a level I feel I can cope with. It’s something I really look forward to and the camaraderie is excellent.”
Event organiser and Better Community Sports Manager, Sue Robinson added: “We’re thrilled with the success of the competition. Walking football is a great concept for football lovers who may have thought they had hung up their boots for ever due to age or injury, to get back on the pitch and have a fun, competitive kick about. Interest in the sport is really growing and we expect to see even more entries next year.”
Walking Football is a slow-paced version of the beautiful game it is designed to help people keep an active lifestyle despite their age, as well as getting those back playing football who had to stop due to injuries.
As the name suggests, Walking Football is non-contact and anyone that sprints, runs or jogs while the ball is in play will be penalised with a free-kick awarded to the other team.
The game is played on a pitch 20/40 yards in length and 15/30 yards in width, with the game restarted via a kick, roll or throw-in.
Walking football has grown exponentially since its inception in 2011. There are now 434 walking football clubs in the UK and the number is growing. Last week the FA announced that it would be publishing official walking football rules and guidelines in February 2017, formally recognising the sport.