Published on October 14, 2013 | by Raoni Medina


UK soccer moves to benefit from Brazilian futsal

Brazilian futsal fans' choreography during a national team home game

Futsal attracts a huge following in its native Brazil, although support is growing around the world (photo: Marcos Lopes)

Brazilian football is recognised for the tradition and unique style of its players and the nation is praised for creating the beautiful game, having accumulated five World Cup trophies.

Much of the key to Brazilian success lies in a mainly indoor variation of the game called futsal.

It is a five-a-side game, played with hockey-sized goals and a smaller ball with reduced bounce.

As players are placed under constant pressure, a great amount of skill and technique is required to get out of the difficult situations.

Futsal is recognised and supported by UEFA and FIFA with European and World Championships for both club and national teams.

The name comes from the combination of the Spanish for hall (sala) and football (futbol). The game was created in Brazil approximately 60 years ago and has gradually spread throughout the world.

Futsal in Brazil

Today, futsal is adored by millions of Brazilians who make it the first stage of their football career.

Many Brazilian football stars – including Neymar and Ronaldinho – made their first kicks as children playing futsal.

The country’s Liga Nacional, also known as the Brazilian League, was created in 1996.  Divided in two categories, the men’s futsal league is formed of 19 teams from all over the country, while the women’s national league (formed in 2005) is composed of 12 clubs.

Each of the 26 states participates in the Regional Championships, and later in The Brazilian Cup.  TV companies inject vast sums of money into the sport, making the Brazilian league one of the best, if not the best futsal league in the world beside the Spanish league.

The icon of the sport is Falcao, who has been named the best futsal player in the planet and you can find why in the video below:

Despite being close to his retirement, he was a key player in helping Brazil reaffirm their dominance against Spain during an epic final (3-2) last November in Thailand, where Brazil claimed their fifth World Cup trophy.

Futsal in Brazil is a professional sport and for many years futsal lovers have been fighting to make it an Olympic sport. The 2016 Games in Rio would have been the perfect venue if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hadn’t rejected it, arguing that there were other sports warranting a place before futsal.

Hopes have been transferred to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. There is a real push for futsal to be included with FIFA president Sepp Blatter one of its biggest supporters.

Futsal in England

Before 2008, when the Football Association introduced the first futsal National League in England, the style that Rivaldo, Neymar and Pele were trained to perfect from a young age was relatively unknown throughout the country.

The Football Association is finally embracing futsal, with the game growing on these shores and clubs implementing it into their academies.

The National League in England is divided in three conferences; North, Midlands and South with the best four teams of each conference going to the FA Super League.

Separated into four groups of three teams, the winners of each group make the final weekend where the semi-finals and final takes place.

Attendance and facilities are just two of the many issues the football authorities in England are faced with. The FA has implemented a new rule that states that four places in each match-day squad must be reserved for English players from this season of the National Futsal League.

Today, the FA seems to be much more engaged in how to implement the futsal philosophy in the English game, and has already recognised the need for a financial boost in futsal, pledging to invest £150 million over the next three years to improve facilities.

So there is a hope of a new generation of Neymars wearing the Three Lions shirt soon.

Watch out, Brazil.


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