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Football Victoria announces pledge to ‘unite the futsal community’

Football Victoria announces pledge to ‘unite the futsal community’
February 18, 2021

Football Victoria has announced that it is “stepping up its dedication to unite the sport and invest in the resources needed to govern futsal in Victoria.”

The only form of ‘indoor football’ or ‘five-a-side’ officially approved by world governing body FIFA and Football Australia, Football Victoria explain that “the game’s health suffering from an absence of centralised direction in recent decades”.

With various forms of the game in existence and a range of self-appointed governing bodies, Football Victoria has pledged to lay the foundations of an aligned futsal framework in coming months, where existing futsal competition providers and futsal clubs can ‘unite’ with the state body to develop the sport and deliver positive experiences for players, coaches and referees across the state.

At the national level, In Principle IV of the recently released XI Principles - for the future of Australian football, calls for the establishment of a national agenda for futsal and beach soccer and to investigate the creation of new products to grow the game.

In 2019, Football Victoria took the first steps to reforming its approach to the sport with the organisation commissioning an independent review that uncovered multiple issues hindering futsal’s progress in Victoria. The onset of COVID-19 prevented the implementation of many recommendations until now.

Advising that the time was right to unite the game and for Football Victoria to take the lead, Football Victoria President, Kimon Taliadoros stated “historically, football’s governing bodies have lacked certainty over what role they should play in futsal and what leadership they should provide. But after extensive consultation with the game’s stakeholders and a deeper understanding of best practice principles, it is clear that the sport must be aligned.

“As such, the time has now come for Football Victoria, as the state’s governing body for football, to not only embrace futsal but to lead it, govern it and unite it.”

“We understand that there has been not only great division but also great confusion, going back many years. The only way forward from here is to establish a framework that brings everyone together and provides greater clarity to futsal centres, facility operators, councils, clubs, referees, coaches and players.

“We are excited about the opportunities that futsal will bring to the community under this new strategy, including how integral it is to achieving our overall target of 50/50 gender participation balance by 2027”.

As part of these changes, Anthony Grima moves into the newly-created position of Head of Futsal at Football Victoria, in addition to his existing role of Head of Commercial.

Grima is not only an experienced football and futsal administrator but accomplished futsal referee and player over two decades, in both Victoria and South Australia.

Commenting on his new role, Grima advised “as a governing body, we have to make a genuine commitment to provide Futsal with the kind of leadership that empowers this great sport to officially develop, grow and service even more participants than it does now.

“There are approximately 40,000 players playing futsal and ‘indoor soccer’ across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. They all need futsal pitches to play on and competitions to participate in. We want to make sure we can partner with local councils and Futsal competition providers to ensure players, clubs, coaches and referees are provided with the best possible Futsal experiences, on and off the pitch.”

“My own experience in futsal has shown me that it is a sport with enormous appeal and potential. There are many amazing and dedicated individuals at the heart of the futsal family here in Victoria and we now have a profound opportunity to work together for the good of the game and build something that will service the game for decades to come.”

Prominent futsal identity Peter Parthimos, Chief Executive of ‘Futsal Oz’ and ‘Series Futsal’, praised Football Victoria’s decision to step forward and lead the sport.

Parthimos stated “this is clearly a development that will benefit the entire futsal community. For many years, the providers, like us, have been left to promote the game themselves but the opportunity to help create a more formal structure underpinned by a unified vision is undeniably exciting.

“We look forward to formally affiliating with Football Victoria. I know many other centres and Futsal clubs will follow suit and that’s just such a positive step forward. It’s been many years since we’ve had an opportunity to collaborate like this.”

“If we all support each other and put the sport first, I believe we will put Victoria back on the map.”

Football Victoria’s Futsal Strategy will be to:

Formally recognise the sport of futsal within Football Victoria’s existing Strategic Plan 2019-2022 ‘FootbALLways’ to facilitate its growth, including in schools and to foster the increase and development of players, coaches, referees, Futsal clubs and Futsal centres in the broader futsal pathway.

Provide futsal competition providers and futsal clubs with a genuine value proposition to partner with Football Victoria via a revamped affiliation and support program to grow and develop futsal together as a unified futsal community.

Integrate futsal within the implementation of Football Victoria’s current Facilities Strategy and advocate for increased and improved futsal facilities with local, state and federal government for the benefit of all Futsal competition providers and futsal clubs across Victoria.

Football Victoria’s priorities will be highlighted by the delivery of premier futsal events for the Victorian futsal community to participate in. This includes the Football Victoria State Futsal Championships, to be held in April 2021, Inter-School Futsal competitions and a premier ‘F-League’ competition for Victoria, for juniors and seniors, which will form the pathway to identify players, coaches and referees for Victorian representation at the Football Australia National Futsal Championships.

In the lead up to the 2022 Football Australia National Futsal Championships, all Victorian Futsal State Representative Squads will also be administered and managed directly by Football Victoria. Further, the body will hold both futsal referee and coach education courses to officially accredit and upskill futsal referees and coaches from February 2021.

A new Football Victoria futsal website is also being launched at www.fvfutsal.com.au

Images: Action from the 2018 Football Victoria Futsal State Titles (top and below, credit: Dawn Bordin) and Anthony Grima, Football Victoria's new Head of Futsal (below).

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