The leaders of England’s Futsal team are hoping new investment from The Football Association will help to oversee a boom in the sport across the country.
A new funding scheme, which is being delivered by the Football Foundation, will see £300,000 made available to County Football Associations, FA-affiliated clubs, youth and adult football leagues looking to create either one or two new Futsal leagues within their local areas.
Applicants will be eligible for grants of £1,500 per league and able to use the money towards associated costs such as facility hire; equipment; referees and FA-affiliated courses.
Michael Skubala, Head Coach of the England Futsal team, said: “The FA recognises Futsal’s increasing importance and popularity, so this scheme is a fantastic way to help continue its growth up and down the country.
“We’re extremely excited at the prospect of even more players and coaches in England being given the ways and means to take up and benefit from the sport.”
Raoni Medina, Captain of the England Futsal team, said: “In the past, there simply weren’t that many opportunities to play Futsal competitively in England or to realise the positive effects the sport can have on your playing technique.
“It’s great to see The FA acknowledge Futsal’s value and growing interest by giving people of different ages and abilities more chances to play in leagues across the country.”
Futsal is a variant of association football, normally played on a hard indoor pitch with hockey-sized goals and a harder ball with reduced bounce. Considered a version of 5-a-side, the exciting, fast-paced game is played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA with progression to national teams in European Championships and World Cups.
A number of football’s biggest names credit Futsal as playing a significant role in their professional football development, with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi Hernandez and Ronaldinho having all played the sport in their younger years.