Leicestershire and Rutland have a thriving Futsal scene with opportunities for men, women and youth players to participate in both competitive and recreational sessions.
Futsal is the only small sided format of the game recognised and supported by FIFA and UEFA. Futsal is a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size 4 ball with a reduced bounce. It is played to touchlines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head-height. Games are 20 minutes per half, played to a stopping clock (similar to basketball) with time-outs permitted.
There are a number of differences to our traditional version of small sided football, but the dominant elements are the absence of rebound boards and amendments in the laws that encourage and foster skilful, creative play above the physical contact that tends to be a feature of English five-a-side.
Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small sided football game that is widely played across the world. The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, and is subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game.
Many of the top world class footballers played Futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their footballing development. Players of the calibre of Pele, Zico, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Lionel Messi to name but a few of the South American legends all played and enjoyed Futsal. But Futsal has not just helped produce South American football stars, on the European stage Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Xavi, Fabregas amongst many others have played Futsal to develop their skills.
Last year The FA’s new Futsal strategy (2018 – 2024) launched and aims to make this fast, exciting format of the sport become England’s indoor game of choice for young players and drive participation.
The new strategy (Click here to download your copy) was launched at St George’s Park on Monday 24 September 2018 prior to England Futsal’s clash with Croatia. The new document, which is titled ‘Fast Forward with Futsal’, outlines The FA’s plan to develop futsal by setting four ambitious targets to achieve by 2024 within four key strands:
1. Participation – 150,000 futsal players playing regularly across both genders and all ages
2. Workforce – 15,000 FA-qualified Futsal coaches at FA Level 2 and UEFA B
3. Facilities – A defined network of Futsal facilities, covering every County FA
4. International – An England men’s futsal team in the top 20 of the FIFA world rankings & establish an England women’s futsal team
Michael Skubala, The FA’s England Futsal Head Coach and Elite Performance Manager, has proudly declared that “this is a landmark moment for the game. In the future I hope people will look back at 2018 as the year Futsal in England really kicked-off – and kicked-on.”
Skubala went on to explain further detail about the importance of this new strategy. He said “It’s important that we get Futsal embedded across the game for men, women and juniors at grassroots and elite level. Our main priority is to create an identity for Futsal, so people really understand what it is and what it isn’t, and what part it plays in participation, development and elite opportunities"