Futsal in Ireland
Futsal Match in Ireland
Futsal – Introduction
Futsal is a small-sided indoor soccer game. The name is derived from the Portuguese phrase futebol de salao. It is played between two soccer teams of five players each. Unlike the more normal yellow indoor ball that has a fur texture the Futsal football is a size 4 leather ball. It is weighted slightly to restrict the bounce of the ball. The matches are played on a hard court surface with boundary lines similar to outdoor soccer. Side or back boards are not used. Matches are divided into two halves of 20 minutes duration each. The emphases of the game is on skill and creativity within limited space.
History of Futsal in the World and Ireland
Futsal has it’s origins in the 1920’s in Brazil and Uruguay. It spread across all of South America and in the early 1970’s the Federación Internacional de Fútbol de Salón – FIFUSA was established. The inaugural World Championships were held in 1982 in Sao Paolo and the hosts Brazil beat Paraguay in the final.
In recognition of the relevance of Futsal for the overall game of soccer both FIFA and UEFA have established official international Futsal competitions for their member countries. In a number of countries, including Brazil, Spain and Italy, have professional futsal leagues.
In Ireland the Football Association of Ireland – FAI – views Futsal as a complementary form of soccer and plays an important role in developing technical skills in young players. It is particularly important in Ireland because indoor Futsal cannot be adversely impacted by the poor Irish weather. In Ireland Futsal is played by boys and girls, men and women, throughout the entire island.
The FAI has further recognised the importance of Futsal to the overall soccer scene in Ireland by launching a ‘Strategic Plan for the Development of Futsal in Ireland 2008-2011’. Former great French International, and UEFA president at the time, launched the program. The Futsal Plan mission statement is:
Targets for Futsal in Ireland
The FAI plan has set the following targets for Futsal in Ireland by the year 2011. The targets are not necessarily listed in order of priority.
Irish Futsal Competitions
The Eircom League of Ireland established a Futsal league in 2007. Shamrock Rovers triumphed over seven other teams in the first running of this competition. Winners of this competition go on the represent Ireland in the UEFA Futsal Cup.
In 2006 the FAI in conjunction with Dublin City Council established the Anna Livia Cup competition for 13 year old boys and girls playing Futsal. The emphasis of this competition is not just to promote Futsal skills and ability but to promote fair play also. Bonus points are on offer for sporting behaviour and fair play.
References & Sources:
Strategic Plan for the Development of Futsal in Ireland 2008-2011; FAI (2007)