It had been expected that the 1980 Paralympic Games would be held in the same city as the Olympic Games, Moscow in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Sports Ministry was asked in 1976 if they could host the Games, but after no positive reply from the Ministry, the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation was asked to help find an alternative venue.
The national federations of Denmark, the Netherlands and South Africa all offered to host the Games, and the Dutch Sports Association for the Disabled was eventually awarded the bid for Holland. To cope with such a large-scale event, the organising committee set up the Foundation of the Olympic Games for the Disabled in 1977. The Games were held at Papendal, close to the city of Arnhem in the Dutch province of Gelderland.