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Victoria University to present inaugural Asia-Pacific Football and Futsal seminar
Victoria University's Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) is to present a multi-disciplinary seminar focussing on knowledge exchange within football and Futsal in the context of the 'Asian century'.
The Seminar will be held in Melbourne from 4th to 6th April 2014. The Seminar will be a platform for discussions about the direction of football and Futsal by people such as:
• Football researchers
• Sports practitioners
• Industry leaders and experts.
Born in Uruguay in 1930, Futsal (sometimes known as fútbol Sala) is a variant of football played on a basketball court-size pitch, with hockey-size goals and mainly played indoors. Using a smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football, futsal is played between two teams of five, including a goalkeeper, on a hard court surface delimited by lines.
Widely played in southern Europe and South America, Futsal's surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces and has become synonymous with flair with players such as Pelé, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo paying tribute to the beneficial effects of playing Futsal in their youth.
Although widely acknowledged as the fastest growing area of football, numbers are difficult to verify due to the large numbers of independent organisations administering the game.
Since 2008, Football Federation Australia (FFA) has progressively introduced the concept of 'Small-Sided Games' (SSG) a modified version of football, structured to more suitably address the needs of young players.
As explained in the FFA's National Football Development Plan "the basis of SSG is that participants, playing on smaller fields and with smaller numbers, will interact with the ball on more occasions and be required to make less complicated tactical decisions."
Introduced as a football format for children under 12 years throughout Australia, SSG has an age-related structure and size linked to progressively changing abilities and skill levels.
As part of the National Football Development Plan, released in 2007, the FFA also promised a "dedicated Futsal Development Plan (to) focus on more effective integration with the outdoor game."
Apparently completed, the plan has never been released, although FFA's former Head of Game Development Matthew Bulkeley told Australasian Leisure Management "one of FFA's overarching technical priorities is to harness Futsal as a general development tool for outdoor football while at the same time growing participation in Futsal throughout the country."
In the absence of clear direction and management from the FFA, Futsal competitions organised by private operators and breakaway associations with a different philosophy towards the game have flourished.
As Australian Futsal Association (AFA) Administration Manager Ian West told Australasian Leisure Management in 2012, "Futsal should be recognised as a sport in its own right and not just a fill in activity between football seasons."
AFA is a body independent of the FFA.
In addition to Futsal and SSG, a growing number of multi-sport centre operators are offering variants of 5-a-side and 6-a-side football at facilities around Australia in many cases with no affiliation with FFA or AFA.
For more information on the Asia-Pacific Football and Futsal seminar go to www.vu.edu.au/1st-asia-pacific-football-futsal-seminar
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