The footballers who let the ball do the work

BRITISH football might be known for its fast frenetic pace.

Walking football players

But a new form of the beautiful game is becoming increasingly popular in Leeds which allows those who are slowing down to enjoy it too.

Walking football has proved to be a big a hit at Pudsey and Armley leisure centres and now Leeds City Council is hoping to establish a network of similar centres across the city.

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It is designed to help people of all ages to get into the sport, including those who may have stopped playing through injury. Walking football is a version of the game that focuses on skill with the ball rather than pace.

The rules are the same as indoor football, with the only difference being that players are not allowed to run and anyone who does concedes a free kick.

Free taster sessions at Armley and Pudsey, with six or seven players a side, have proved very popular. Phil Riley, the co-ordinator of the scheme, said: “Football is always a really popular activity in Leeds, but we’re aware that there are some people who really want to play but who might struggle to keep up with younger players, need to build up their fitness or might have stopped playing because of an injury, which means they find a full-paced game difficult.”

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, the council’s executive member for culture and skills, said: “Walking football is a great example of how sport can break down barriers for those who want to get involved but who might not be sure how to find their way into physical activity.”