Background: CP-Football is a para-sport for athletes with Cerebral Palsy and related neurological conditions. Actually, it is governed by the International Federation of Cerebral
Palsy Football (IFCPF) and practiced by 40 countries in 5 continents. A non-valid classification poses a significant threat in athlete’s competitive achievements, as soon as the athlete believes to be
in a wrong class. Therefore, if the classification system is perceived as unfair process this will lead to a decrease in the participation among people with disability (Tweedy et al. 2014). Thus, the
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) approved a newer IPC Athlete´s Classification Code (July 2015), aiming to provide a clear statement of the purpose of Athlete Classification, as well as a
framework of policies and procedures that will uphold confidence in Classification systems across the Paralympic Movement
Methods: Head Coaches (47.1±7.2 yr; 10.1±7.1 yr of experience) from the 15 national teams of the 2015 CP-Football World Championships, 2 players per team (n=30; 28.5±6.9 yr; 9.6.1±5.4
yr of experience), 3 senior classifiers (44.9±10.7 yr; 9.7±8.1 yr of experience), and 3 IFCPF Board members (57.4±3.4 yr; 21.7±7.6 yr of experience) took part in this study.
A semi-structured interview was used to allow participants some degree of flexibility to express their opinions, ideas, feelings and attitudes. While allowing the interviewer to follow a
pre-established order addressing the questions and issues required (Sparkes, 2013). The interview questions cover a wide range of themes related with classification and its different processes, with
duration between 40 and 120 minutes. The content was transcribed the content analysis was conducted by Nvivo software, using a combination of both conventional (inductive) and directed (deductive)
content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005) and rigor criteria.
Results: Favorable opinions to include in the teams one more player of classes FT5 or FT6 was 84.9%; consideration if classes FT5 or FT6 are low classes had favourable opinions from
33% to 100%; the inclusion of more athletes of the class FT8 was supported only by the head coaches with 13.3%; the idea of opening the sport to other eligible impairments were not highly supported
(24.5%). Not many responses were obtained about the development of a new classification system, with a preference of a 3 classes system by the board, or a point system by the classifiers (66.7%). It
was obtained a high percentage of responses advocating for a sport where players’ impairment be more visible (75%).
Conclusions: This study involved all stakeholders in a dialogue on the current classification system of CP football, in order to help in the decision making, if at any time it is
decided that certain changes are needed, in order to return sport at the Paralympics in 2024.