Futsal is a sport that focuses on incredible technique and fast-paced football. Helping develop young footballers in Latin America. But how popular is it in the UK?
Futsal is a game known worldwide for developing players’ ball control skills, full of speed, technical abilities, and creativity. Played for decades across Latin America and Europe, the sport is associated with producing some of the world’s greatest football players. The legendary Pelé, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo all credit it for their football skills development.
The game was also the beginning of some of football’s most creative players with Ronaldinho, Neymar Jr, and Xavi all praising the game for its tactical advantages.
Popular for its entertaining matches, Futsal’s intensity and speed offer more opportunity for high goal-scoring fixtures.
HOW ARE FOOTBALL AND FUTSALE DIFFERENT?
In 1930, a school teacher Juan Carlos Ceriani developed Futsal, an adaptation of football, in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
The game operates on a much smaller court indoors. Demanding pinpoint passing and quick movement, the sport makes players work with limited space and forces them to play fast and think quickly.
Similar to five-a-side football, Futsal requires five players for each team in the field. One of the players is a goalkeeper. Up to 12 players can compete in each match.
Futsal uses a smaller, low-bounce ball that weighs between 410-490g. The heavier ball makes ground control and quality first touch essential to success in the game. A regular football weighs roughly 400g.
Quicker Speed in a Shorter Time
Substitutions are unlimited and on-the-fly, forcing the players to work harder and get tired quicker than in regular football.
The game has two periods of 20 minutes and Half Time of 15 minutes, and time is stopped at every dead ball. A dead ball is when the ball leaves the court or when the referee stops play. Unlike regular football, each team may use one time-out per half, which lasts one minute.
The standard pitch size is similar to a full-size basketball court. The court’s minimum size is 25m × 16m, and the maximum is 42m × 25m.
No doubt the game improves a football player’s technical skills. Despite that, there are just a few Futsal clubs in the south of England. Why?
LACK OF FUTSAL CLUBS IN THE SOUTH
The Football Association (FA) is the governing body of Futsal in the UK, structuring the divisions on a North and South basis. Due to the smaller number of clubs than regular football, the men’s National Futsal League Premiership South contains just eight teams.
Four of the teams in the Premiership South are based in London. Despite the sport being high-quality and entertaining, there are no teams in the division from the South Coast. Limited opportunities to play Futsal in the South could negatively affect English football talent development. Children may have fewer chances of developing their technical skills.
Bournemouth Futsal Club is one of the few clubs located on the South Coast. The club was accepted into the National Futsal League in 2020. Now, it provides young players with the opportunity to develop their skills. Offering training sessions with UEFA A-Licensed Coaches, the club has classes for players ranging from Under 6s to Under 18s.
Located at the Sir David English Leisure Centre, the club also has a men’s and women’s first team for players over 18 years of age.
BUILDING THE FUTURE
Spain, Brazil, and Argentina take the top three ranked Futsal countries globally. These countries successfully training and developing young players to play for the international teams. Children can play Futsal until the age of 11, before changing to regular football.
By transitioning to regular football, children can use Futsal skills to show technical and passing prowess against their opponents at a younger age than others who have only played regular football.
This early development has benefited the international Futsal stage, further indicated by the Futsal World Rankings – the official ranking of every international Futsal team in the world.
Currently, England sits at 60th place in the Futsal World Rankings. The number suggests that the sport’s UK development is far behind many other countries in the world.
Quick and efficient passing has become a popular tool in modern football. Many foreign players trained in Futsal have made big-money moves to the Premier League. Their technical skills and passing abilities mastered while playing Futsal advanced their careers.
Whilst Latin American countries continue to develop gifted youngsters with outstanding technical skills, England could seize an opportunity by using Futsal to create the next world-class football generation.