Youngsters in Grimsby, Cleethorpes and the surrounding areas will soon be given the chance to play more futsal thanks to funding from The Football Association (The FA).
In June, The FA made £300,000 available to County Football Associations, FA-affiliated clubs, youth and adult football leagues who wished to develop either one or two new Futsal leagues, as they ramped up efforts to encourage more people to play the sport in England.
The scheme, which is delivered by the Football Foundation, awarded grants of £1,500 to applicants per league created, with money being used towards associated costs of facility hire, equipment, referees and FA-affiliated courses.
Futsal is the UEFA and FIFA recognised format of five- a- side football but it differs from the version that we know in this country. It is played on a firm indoor pitch, with Hockey sized goals. It is played to lines rather than walls or boards and the ball differs in being slightly smaller and with a reduced bounce.
Taken together these differences lead to a game that is fast, skilful and tactical. For these reason Futsal is being adopted as a game in its own right as well as useful development experience for young footballers.
A number of football’s biggest names credit Futsal as playing a significant role in their professional football development, with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi Hernandez and Ronaldinho having all played the sport in their younger years.
Scott Drury, part of the futsal development team at Grimsby Town Sports and Education Trust, said: “We are obviously delighted to have been awarded the futsal grant. We have been doing futsal successfully with the U19s age group for 6 years now and the area clearly has a real invested talent in the sport. What the funds will allow us to do is provide a “real futsal experience” and competitive games program for grassroots youngsters before they reach the age of 16 and are eligible for the U19s side. This will hopefully enhance their development further as they will be playing futsal from a lot younger age. The grant allows us to run two competitions, at U15/16 and U13/14 age groups throughout the winter months, when competitive football may fall foul to the weather. Last year we ran a pilot league with the U16s and it was really successful so we hope the local area buys into the extended age groups. We would like to thank the Lincs FA, The FA and Football Foundation for their support.”
About the Football Foundation:
Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded over 17,000 grants worth more than £682m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of £878m – totalling over £1.5bn of investment into the grassroots game.
By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Football Foundation aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.