July 12, 2024

Futsal in Ireland

futsalFutsal 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:

“To establish Futsal as the preferred version of five-a-side football in Ireland and to increase and sustain participation at all age and ability levels by promoting and developing the game as a complementary format of football within the football family”

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.

Competition established within schoolboy/girl football leagues
Futsal established at all levels in educational institutions
Ireland U21 & senior Futsal teams participating in UEFA Championships
Local, regional and national league competitions established
Increased awareness of the benefits of playing Futsal
Regional Futsal development squads in place
Major sponsor helping the FAI to lead the development of Futsal
Coach, referee and administrator education courses in place.

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)
UEFA Futsal Website
FIFA Futsal Website
Futsal Wikipedia Entry

Irish Soccer Information
Irish Football Club Directory Irish Soccer Leagues Women’s Soccer in Ireland
Dublin Football Clubs Football Association of Ireland Irish Soccer Players
Dublin Football Clubs by Area Irish Football Club Websites Futsal in Ireland
Irish Soccer Managers Irish Soccer Results
Irish Football History Football Pundits
Irish Soccer Referees Republic of Ireland Managers
League of Ireland Irish Football Statistics
Non-Irish Football Site Content: Manchester United – Liverpool FC