LNFS forms an alliance with FAF to develop futsal in Australia

The LNFS has entered into a long-term agreement with the Australian Futsal Federation that will see both the Australian Futsal governing body and LNFS work together on the growth and development of futsal in Australia and Oceania. This is another step in the expansion of the LNFS project to help promote the development of futsal worldwide, with Australia joining the agreements already reached with England, the Baltic countries, and the USA.

Futsal is experiencing enormous growth in Australia, where FAF promotes and develops futsal competitions from grassroots to local leagues in each state. Thanks to this partnership with the LNFS, the FAF now seeks to achieve its ultimate goal of creating the first Australian professional futsal league. The FAF is made up of men’s, women’s, and junior leagues and, with help from the LNFS, will promote the development of coaches and quality training, contributing to technical and tactical improvements to Australian futsal.

Antonio Cifuentes, president of FAF said: “This strategic partnership with the LNFS is the most important development for futsal in Australia in over a decade and we really looking forward to taking a large and inclusive approach to the growth and development of futsal in collaboration with the LNFS in the coming years.”

Javier Lozano, LNFS President, commented: “It is a pleasure for us to join the FAF project due to the intense interest shown and the enormous possibilities of futsal development throughout the country. It is a mutual responsibility that we assume with joy and determination”.

British Futsal Club Cup

Discussions with colleagues from futsal clubs playing in the different British nations show there is a strong appetite for an annual club competition – the British Futsal Club Cup – that would allow clubs from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales to play against each other in a friendly tournament over a long weekend every summer.

The tournament would have the following structure, although all details are open for community discussion before a final decision is agreed between the clubs in the four nations (who would then seek sanction to enter this competition by their respective National Governing Bodies in the usual way):

  • The tournament would be held over three or four days during the summer period, after the end of the futsal and football seasons.
  • Two teams would enter the tournament from each nation, so there would be a total of eight teams from the four nations. The two teams from LNFS England would be the finalists in our Premiership play-off competition. Criteria for entries from other nations would be for the clubs in each home nation to decide.
  • The tournament venue would rotate around the nations each year. LNFS England would be happy to host the inaugural tournament in 2022 – at a venue in either the Midlands or the North with an international standard court and spectator seating (e.g. St. Georges’s Park).
  • The competition structure would be:
    • Two groups of four teams, with one club from each nation in each group, allocated at random. The four teams in each group play each other once, so every team has three matches during the group stage against a team from each other nation. There would be a total of 12 matches in the group stage (6 per group), with two matches per group per day (i.e. four matches across both groups) run over a period of three days, so every team plays once a day.
    • The top team from each group plays in a grand final to determine the overall tournament champion, with the possibility of additional matches for other teams beforehand to determine overall rankings (i.e. 3rd to 8th place).
    • All matches would be filmed and broadcast.
  • The host country league would pay for the venue, match officials, and match broadcasting and may choose to charge a spectator admission fee. Each team would pay for its own travel and accommodation. Any sponsorship for the tournament would be used first to reduce or eliminate the expenses of the host and then to reduce or eliminate the expenses of the participating teams. Once all host and participant expenses are reimbursed any surplus from the tournament would belong to the host.

We look forward to working with clubs and NGBs to progress this exciting initiative as soon as key colleagues in all Home Nations return from furlough.

Jose Carlos Lopez joins LNFS England as Technical Advisor

The LNFS England board would like to welcome Jose Carlos Lopez, the Spanish professional futsal player, as he joins the league as its Technical Advisor. Jose Carlos will be working with LNFS England clubs to improve the standard of futsal played on the court and to assist in transferring knowledge from LNFS in Madrid. He will combine his vast playing experience to improve standards on the court and the match-day experience for players in England.

Jose Carlos has been a professional futsal player for the past 18 years. His debut for Boadilla FS in the Spanish first division came at the age of seventeen, and since then he has played for many professional clubs in Spain, including Pinto FS, Tres Cantos, Carnicer Torrejon, Caja Segovia, Pescados Ruben Burela, and Jimbee Cartagenia. He appeared in four Spanish Cup finals, two play-off semi-finals in the Primera division, and received one golden boot award. During his career playing in the LNFS Jose Carlos scored around 230 goals in more than 500 matches spread over 14 seasons.

He already has a good knowledge of the game in England, having played for two seasons with Baku United in 2014/15 and 2015/16. Both seasons Baku United won the domestic double and in the second season they qualified for the UEFA Champions League main round, the only ever English club to do so. Jose Carlos was the leagues’ MVP and top-scorer in 2015/16, scoring 128 goals in around 50 matches during his time with Baku United. Over the years he has also made ten appearances for Helvecia in the UEFA Futsal Champions League.

He also has further experience with other European futsal leagues, having played in the Italian Serie A for Napoli Calcio 5, the French top-flight with Sporting Paris FS,  and in Croatia with Square Dubrovnik. Having played at a range of levels across Europe Jose Carlos will play a valuable role in helping English futsal develop, improving the standards on the court. He already has a good relationship with the LNFS in Madrid and has an excellent network with futsal clubs both in Spain and all across Europe.

Jose Carlos told us “It is a pleasure to be involved with LNFS England, an organisation linked with one I know well in LNFS. I will try to give my best to help develop futsal – making it more professional and widely known in the community. You have all the right things in place to be successful, so step by step and with patience we will achieve our goals”. Abrazos Jose Carlos! We can’t wait to get started. On behalf of all clubs in England who will benefit from your experience we want to thank you for helping to develop futsal in England!

LNFS England supports online course on mental health awareness for sport and physical activity

One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. That could be anyone in your futsal club.

LNFS England is pleased to support an online course that will give you the knowledge, skills, and confidence to better understand and support people living with mental health problems, and create a positive environment that ensures they enjoy the benefits of being active and keep coming back for more.

The course has been developed based on learning from the Get Set to Go programme and an independent evaluation led by Loughborough University.

About the course

The four modules – developed in partnership with 1st4sport and UK Coaching, and funded by Sport England and the National Lottery – will increase your knowledge and understanding of mental health, providing you with the practical skills and strategies to be able to:

  • better understand mental health, the misconceptions and how to recognise the red flags;
  • appreciate the impact and importance of sport and physical activity on mental health;
  • recognise the barriers to participating in physical activity, and put in place practical ways you can adapt your sessions to overcome them;
  • understand and connect with people, thus helping to provide an inclusive, person-centred experience;
  • communicate effectively and offer appropriate guidance;
  • be confident about opening and holding a conversation about mental health with someone you coach; and
  • make your club or organisation more inclusive, and better prepared to be able to support people experiencing mental health problems.

The course has been awarded three Developmental CPD points by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

How do I access the course?

Available for £12, the course is accessible on the UK Coaching website.

If you click on the link above you will also find out more about the course including:

  • What will I learn?
  • How long will the course take?
  • Certification

LNFS England will reimburse the £12 course fee for one representative from every Member Club upon presentation of their certificate of course completion.

The LNFS England vision…..revisited

We published the LNFS England vision over two months ago. After several months of positive developments across the community, we would like to take stock and reflect on the state of development of futsal in England, discuss whether or not it changes our vision, and lay out our role in achieving the shared goals of everyone involved in the sport.

Our vision states:

LNFS England is an inclusive and democratic big tent – run by futsal clubs, for futsal clubs.

Our vision is of connected and coherent futsal organisation across England, which embraces and nurtures futsal clubs as engines of change and development within their communities.

LNFS England has four strategic aims:

  • Club development. We will work with futsal clubs across England to help them develop SMART business plans that build sustainability and generate growth, whatever their current level of development.
  • Competition development. We will work towards unification of English futsal into a connected and coherent futsal pyramid and pathway, owned and run by its Member Clubs, and providing opportunities for all ages, genders, and backgrounds, from elite to non-elite players.
  • Venue development. We will work with local and national partners in the public and private sectors to establish a network of international-standard futsal arenas across England through strategically planned retro-fitting and new-build.
  • Leadership development. We will develop futsal leaders, starting with the LNFS England Board of Directors, who will be selected on merit and always be democratically accountable to Member Clubs.

English futsal is still in an early stage of its development despite over a decade of affiliated competitions covering the whole country. At LNFS England we understand that English futsal needs more players and clubs, better competitions, better venues and, most importantly, better leadership. All of the above will provide the sport with stronger foundations on which to build an attractive and marketable product that can compete for both participants and spectators with continental European futsal and other mainstream sports. Our aims to achieve this vision remain unchanged.

Recent broadcasting of England’s “Tier 1” competition live on YouTube is a potentially positive development for the marketing of the sport, showcasing the best teams in the country, with high-end production that included live commentary, team line-ups, pre- and post-match interviews, and quality graphics. However, despite this large investment in production, YouTube data indicate that audiences for the live streams decreased across the three weeks of broadcasting (average viewers across all NFS1 matches of 271 in week 1, 234 in week 2, and 165 in week 3). Next weekend’s finals are due to be broadcast on a BT Sport channel and will showcase the best teams in what should be very competitive matches. If they are placed on the prominent channels (BT Sport 1 & 2) and promoted sufficiently through paid advertising then this could be a great opportunity to attract a new wave of viewers and hopefully participants who can enjoy the sport.

The LNFS England view of the main value of broadcasting at the current stage of English futsal development differs from this. We will be filming, professionally editing, and broadcasting at least 40 of our matches next season, with the following main aims:

  • Production of short, attractive highlights clips for distribution across social media with the aim of attracting further participation in the sport.
  • Establishment of an objective baseline of current team performance so that improvements can be monitored over the coming years.
  • Provision of technical analysis of filmed matches to help LNFS England clubs improve their performance.

LNFS England remains committed to the development of futsal and will continue to provide leadership that represents the main stakeholders in the game – the clubs. We continue to create new links with national and international partners and work with organisations that share our vision, just as the LNFS in Spain continues to spread its brand around the globe, recently announcing partnerships with futsal organisations in the USA, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, with more to follow, growing the LNFS family to build an international futsal community. Our job at LNFS England is to build a domestic futsal community that can, with the support of this international LNFS community, develop the whole game based on a growing number of sustainable clubs. This means recruiting more clubs, giving existing clubs the tools to grow, improving the quality and scope of our competitions, and increasing the quality of opportunities for young people to engage with the sport.

LNFS England are here to build that community, and to build it with strong foundations. Only clubs can support that mission. Be one of them.

Apply to be a referee in LNFS England matches next season

The National Futsal League, founded in 2008, is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company owned by all its Member Clubs. We operate as LNFS England to reflect our new partnership with the Spanish LNFS. We remain an independent league owned by our clubs and affiliated to the FA but will also benefit from the knowledge and experience developed over more than thirty years by our LNFS colleagues.

Next season our league will operate Premiership and Championship divisions, with over 500 matches planned for a season lasting from September to May. Each match will require two referees, plus a timekeeper appointed by the home side.

Our offer to match officials who agree to officiate in a minimum of ten LNFS England matches during the season is:

  • Free referee kit, tracksuit, and bag provided by our league sponsors Joma and L4 Teamwear to the first 50 referees who sign up and agree to officiate in at least ten LNFS England matches;
  • Match fees of £35 per referee for each Premiership match and £30 for each Championship match;
  • Up to £20 per referee in matchday travel expenses;
  • Both match referees are paid the same fee (i.e. no difference between the “referee” and “assistant/second referee”);
  • Matchday refreshments provided by the home team; and
  • Allocation of matches to referees to minimise their travel time as much as possible.

We also have plans to set up an u18s futsal league, which will provide additional opportunities for match officials and help to develop young referees.

If you are happy to officiate in at least ten LNFS England matches next season please email Peter Sharples, stating your futsal referee qualification level. He will then send the first 50 qualified respondents a link so that you can order your free kit in the correct size.

Club application window for LNFS England 2021/22 season remains open

We know from discussions with several clubs that the FA’s decision to remove our league from the futsal pathway in April and then reinstate us last Friday has caused understandable confusion and may have dissuaded some from entering a team into our competition for next season.

Because of this confusion, which was beyond the control of clubs and our league, the LNFS England Directors are happy to consider applications for the 2021/22 season until June 21st.

Please email Ewan Minter for an application form if you wish to play in our club owned and controlled league – or fill out a web form here.

The LNFS England league structure will be finalised at our AGM next month. This structure will be based on evidence of each team’s competitive standard. In order to maintain league and sporting integrity, any team entering the league after next season will do so via our lowest tier.

The benefits of LNFS England membership next year include:

LNFS England ownership

  • Joint democratic ownership and control of your league with other Member Clubs. LNFS England is wholly owned by all its Member Clubs via the National Futsal League Community Interest Company.
  • A major say in how the league is run. All Directors of the league are democratically elected annually by the clubs, who are encouraged to nominate candidates as Directors to help run all aspects of the league for the benefit of Member Clubs.
  • Partnership with the Spanish LNFS, the world’s foremost futsal league, exposing English futsal clubs, players, and coaches to truly elite futsal.
  • Membership of a growing international community of LNFS Associations in the United States, the Baltic, and elsewhere, offering opportunities to work with, play against, and learn from futsal clubs and organisations worldwide.
  • Affiliation to the Football Association as an independent futsal league, owned by and accountable to its clubs.

LNFS England organisation

  • Competitive balance and travel minimisation, with teams placed in either the Premiership North or South divisions, or in the Championship North, Midlands, or South divisions. Movement between these divisions is by the normal process of promotion and relegation.
  • Co-ordination of youth leagues to ensure a smooth and competitive development pathway from junior to senior futsal.
  • Home and away matches in local venues. The LNFS England playing model is based on teams playing at least 10 home and 10 away matches each season in the best available local venues, as identified through our futsal arenas database. Central venues are only used for play-off matches at the end of each season.
  • Every team has something to play for until the end of the season, including divisional championships and promotion/relegation playoffs.
  • Opportunities to play high-quality opposition from other countries. There is an annual Anglo-Spanish club tournament for Premiership North and South winners; we are also in discussion with clubs from other Home Nations to start an annual British Club Futsal Cup; and further international playing initiatives in Europe and further afield are available.
  • Workshops on club development and club mentoring delivered by local and international experts, including Futsal World Cup winning coaches from LNFS clubs.

LNFS England funding and awards

  • All surplus funds are reinvested in the league. As a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, the National Futsal League reinvests all surplus funds into development of the league. For example, next season the league will pay for one of the two referees officiating at every league match in order to help clubs recover from the financial burden of the pandemic.
  • Value for money. LNFS England Directors do not receive any salary or expenses and a major aim is to make futsal widely accessible by keeping the cost of league entry as low as possible.
  • Awards and trophies. Each season divisional winners receive a trophy to keep, and their squad members receive winners’ medals. Divisional Golden Boot and Golden Glove awards are made to the top goal scorers and the goalkeepers with the best record. Divisional Coach of the Year awards are voted on by all coaches in each division.
  • Sponsorship by Joma and L4 Teamwear to deliver free match balls and discounted playing kit to all clubs.
  • Access to funding opportunities from an independent, futsal-specific charity set up to help encourage well run futsal clubs and democratically accountable futsal leagues.
  • A partnership with Koi Sports C.I.C. to provide ongoing support, coaching, and mentoring for LNFS England and its Member Clubs, help them build partnerships with businesses, and attract financial investment.
  • Comprehensive health, injury, and illness insurance for players and clubs from Our Game Football.

LNFS England communications

  • A high-quality website which includes news and views, fixtures and results, team and player profile pages and comparison charts, plus automatic display of player tweets.
  • A regular newsletter to help develop and maintain communications between clubs and Directors, plus all Directors can be contacted by ‘phone or email and welcome feedback to help improve the league.
  • Broadcasting. LNFS England’s YouTube channel broadcasts at least 40 matches and highlights each season, drawing upoOn LNFS experience to developing a realistic and achievable broadcasting strategy.
  • Match analysis. LNFS England’s partnership with Proindia provides video match analysis to help clubs improve individual and team performance.

Ewan Minter, LNFS England Communications Director, is happy to discuss your club’s application in complete confidence either by email or on the ‘phone. Please feel free to contact him.

LNFS England welcomes the Baltic Futsal League to the LNFS community

Javier Lozano and Boriss Shipunov signing the agreement at LNFS headquarters.

The Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala (LNFS) has signed an agreement with the Baltic Futsal League to develop futsal in Baltic countries through technical training for coaches and in other organisational areas such as marketing, audio-visual communication, and competition organisation. The president of the LNFS, Javier Lozano, and his equivalent in the BFL, Boriss Shipunov, signed this three-season agreement in Madrid on 3rd June.

The BFL comprises clubs from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia, and aims to include clubs from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Poland before the start of next season.

With this alliance, plus the one reached with the National Futsal League Community Interest Company in England (LNFS England) and US Youth Futsal, the LNFS takes a further step along the path of international expansion. This is an inclusive project designed to help develop world futsal alongside those Leagues and Associations that wish to learn from the Spanish League.

LNFS England looks forward to working closely with our colleagues in the Baltic League to share resources and grow international opportunities for players, coaches, and clubs.

League statement – The FA “Sets aside” LNFS England removal from Futsal Pathway

The LNFS England Directors would like to thank the FA for yesterday restoring our league to the futsal pathway in England.

LNFS England was removed from the pathway on 16th April without any prior discussion or notice. Since that date we have corresponded extensively with the FA in an effort to understand their point of view. This correspondence has included an open invitation to FA officers to speak to us on the ‘phone and the provision of detailed written answers to all FA queries.

We have clearly shown that no FA, UEFA, or FIFA rules have been broken by LNFS England, and our partnership with the LNFS is of benefit to the wider English futsal community.

We are glad this issue has been resolved and look forward to future positive engagement with the FA to develop futsal in England, with the expert help of our partners in Spain.

We have provided further details to our Member Clubs.

LNFS England welcomes US Youth Futsal to the LNFS community

LNFS England welcomes the newest member of the growing worldwide LNFS community – US Youth Futsal.

The LNFS has reached an agreement with US Youth Futsal (USYF) to work together to grow futsal in the United States. USYF has been an industry leader in futsal in the United States for decades and this agreement will offer additional support from the LNFS to promote growth in technical training, international competition, coaching education, event organisation, and marketing and communications.

USYF has been providing youth futsal programmes in the United States since 1994 and is currently the largest youth futsal organisation in the country, with over 100 league, academy, and club affiliates in more than 30 States. In addition, USYF hosts the largest youth Championship Series, the most robust coaching education platform, and a Futsal ID program that leads to international competition against some of the best futsal clubs and youth national teams in the world.

USYF Executive Director Brian Catrine says:

“The primary goal of our organisation is to simply grow the game of futsal in the United States. By partnering with the LNFS, we will have access to more resources and even stronger organisational tools to help create more engagement in the sport. Javier and his team are some of the best futsal leaders in the world and we look forward to working together”.

After reaching this agreement, Javier Lozano commented that:

“As president of the LNFS, I am very proud to be able to use all the knowledge acquired over 32 years to help new markets. We are convinced that the US has enormous growth potential and can become one of the world’s futsal engines”.

LNFS England looks forward to working closely with our colleagues in the US to share resources and grow international opportunities for English players, coaches, and clubs.