LNFS England futsal arena strategy – Phase 1 update

Last week we outlined our five-phase strategy to develop a network of futsal arenas across England.

In Phase 1 we are using Sport England’s Active Places database to identify existing sports halls which could potentially accommodate futsal courts of different sizes. We show the national distribution of potential venues of different sizes in the maps below.

Sports halls in England that could fit a court at least 33m long x 20m wide with a 1m runoff. Total number of halls = 250.
Sports halls in England that could fit a court at least 35m long x 20m wide with a 1m runoff. Total number of halls = 230
Sports halls in England that could fit a court at least 38m long x 20m wide with a 2m runoff. Total number of halls = 78
Sports halls in England that could fit a court at least 40m long x 20m wide with a 2m runoff (one venue would only allow a 1 m runoff at the sides) . Total number of halls = 68

This initial survey of English futsal sports hall with the potential to accommodate a futsal court measuring 33-40 m long x at least 20 m wide and with a 1 – 2 m runoff shows that in theory there are plenty of facilities across the country that could be used for futsal. This includes almost 70 halls that could fit a full-size international futsal court.

However, we know that there are the following barriers to futsal’s use of many of these halls:

  • No futsal line markings;
  • No futsal goals or scoreboard;
  • Insufficient lighting;
  • Low availability because of booking by other activities;
  • Cost;
  • Lack of spectator seating; and
  • Refusal of venue management to allow futsal.

In the table below we list the sports halls into which an international size court could fit. Over the next few weeks a group of volunteers will be visiting these and other venues that are not currently used by futsal clubs so that we can develop a venue-by-venue understanding of any barriers to their use.

We would very much welcome your assistance with this project. If you are interested in helping then please use this contact form.

Table of English sports halls that could fit a 40 x 20 m futsal court
Site NamePost TownPost CodeHall area (m2)Hall length (m)Hall width (m)
ST GEORGES COLLEGEADDLESTONEKT15 2QS14585427
STOKE MANDEVILLE STADIUM & OLYMPIC LODGEAYLESBURYHP21 9PA20706034.5
BARKING ABBEY SCHOOL (LONG BRIDGE CAMPUS)BARKINGIG11 8UF24006040
BARKING ABBEY SCHOOL LEISURE CENTREBARKINGIG11 9AG22045838
UNIVERSITY OF BATH SPORTS TRAINING VILLAGEBATHBA2 7AY20706034.5
BEDFORD INTERNATIONAL ATHLETIC STADIUMBEDFORDMK41 9SB13206022
JOHN BUNYAN HEALTH AND FITNESSBEDFORDMK42 9TS16564834.5
UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM SPORT AND FITNESSBIRMINGHAMB15 2TT20706034.5
PLAYFOOTBALL (BIRMINGHAM INDOOR)BIRMINGHAMB19 2LF20706034.5
ALDENHAM SPORTS CENTREBOREHAMWOODWD6 3AJ13005026
LEAF STUDIO, OAK ACADEMYBOURNEMOUTHBH11 9JJ16206027
THE CITY ACADEMY BRISTOLBRISTOLBS5 9JH18365434
THE LORD ROBERTS CENTREBROOKWOODGU24 0NP118946.825.4
THE TRIANGLEBURGESS HILLRH15 8WA20706034.5
ST GEORGE’S PARK NATIONAL FOOTBALL CENTREBURTON-ON-TRENTDE13 9PD24006040
POLO FARM SPORTS CLUBCANTERBURYCT3 4AF16804835
QUEEN ELIZABETH SCHOOLCARNFORTHLA6 2HJ20164842
CHELTENHAM COLLEGECHELTENHAMGL53 7LD14404532
UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX SPORTS CENTRECOLCHESTERCO4 3SQ20706034.5
UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK (SPORT AND WELLNESS HUB)COVENTRYCV4 7EU17825433
SPORTS CONNEXION LEISURE CLUBCOVENTRYCV8 3FL139751.7527
K2 CRAWLEYCRAWLEYRH11 9BQ201754.537
WELLINGTON HEALTH & FITNESS CLUBCROWTHORNERG45 7PT18725236
DERBY ARENADERBYDE24 8JB210658.536
THE DOME LEISURE COMPLEXDONCASTERDN4 7PD16245629
PLACES LEISURE EASTLEIGHEASTLEIGHSO50 9NL260064.0540.6
OXSTALLS SPORTS PARKGLOUCESTERGL2 9DW17825433
ARMY FOUNDATION COLLEGEHARROGATEHG3 2SE20706034.5
HERTFORDSHIRE SPORTS VILLAGEHATFIELDAL10 9EU18855434.9
SAMUEL WARD ACADEMYHAVERHILLCB9 0LD15754535
THE DOLPHINHAYWARDS HEATHRH16 1LY11444426
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD LEISURE CENTREHEMEL HEMPSTEADHP1 1JS139751.7527
HEREFORD LEISURE CENTREHEREFORDHR4 9UD16005032
WYCOMBE LEISURE CENTREHIGH WYCOMBEHP11 1UP20706034.5
UNIVERSITY OF HULL (HULL SPORT PARK, ALLAM SPORT CENTRE)HULLHU6 7TS17825433
REDBRIDGE SPORTS & LEISUREILFORDIG6 3HD20706034.5
ARENA SPORTS (NATIONAL VOLLEYBALL CENTRE)KETTERINGNN15 6PB19445436
ALIVE LEISURE LYNNSPORTKING’S LYNNPE30 2NB19204840
LEICESTER SPORTS CENTRE LTDLEICESTERLE2 7SR14005625
PLUMPTON COLLEGELEWESBN7 3AE13504530
CRYSTAL PALACE NATIONAL SPORTS CENTRELONDONSE19 2BB13424629.18
LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY (DAVID WALLACE SPORT CENTRE)LOUGHBOROUGHLE11 3TU17405830
MANCHESTER BASKETBALL CENTREMANCHESTERM16 8GW18155533
MAURICE CHANDLER SPORTS & LEISURE CENTREMARKET DRAYTONTF9 2JP37728246
REASEHEATH COLLEGENANTWICHCW5 6DF18006030
EAGLES COMMUNITY ARENANEWCASTLE UPON TYNENE4 7AF24326438
NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY (SPORT CENTRAL)NEWCASTLE UPON TYNENE1 8ST17825433
BENHAM SPORTS ARENANORTHAMPTONNN3 6LL18904542
SPORTSPARKNORWICHNR4 7SS20706034.5
UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM (DAVID ROSS SPORTS VILLAGE)NOTTINGHAMNG7 2RD393889.544
PAIGNTON COMMUNITY & SPORTS ACADEMY (WATERLEAT ROAD)PAIGNTONTQ3 3WA261964.540.6
BRENTWOOD CENTREPILGRIMS HATCHCM15 9NN20706034.5
PLYMOUTH LIFE CENTREPLYMOUTHPL2 3DG20706034.5
MARJON SPORT CENTREPLYMOUTHPL6 8BH20706034.5
RAF LARKHILLSALISBURYSP4 8QT21605440
ENGLISH INSTITUTE OF SPORT (SHEFFIELD)SHEFFIELDS9 5DA20706034.5
HERSCHEL SPORTS CENTRESLOUGHSL1 3DW15754535
WHITGIFT SPORTS CENTRESOUTH CROYDONCR2 6YT12324428
TEMPLE PARK CENTRESOUTH SHIELDSNE34 8QN16204536
THE LOUISA CENTRESTANLEYDH9 0TE15305130
FENTON MANOR SPORTS COMPLEX AND SHAPESSTOKE-ON-TRENTST4 2RR178253.9133.05
NORTHWOOD STADIUMSTOKE-ON-TRENTST1 6PA163648.7933.54
BEACON OF LIGHTSUNDERLANDSR5 1SN17825433
RAF COSFORD SCHOOL OF PHYSICAL TRAININGWOLVERHAMPTONWV7 3EX25507534
WV ACTIVE ALDERSLEYWOLVERHAMPTONWV6 9NW23047232
UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER ARENAWORCESTERWR2 5JS21606036
UNIVERSITY OF YORK SPORTS CENTREYORKYO10 5NA20706034.5
YORK RI SPORTS CENTREYORKYO24 1AD139751.7527

Weekend round-up #2

ANOTHER BIG WEEKEND of futsal across the country saw outdoor youth tournaments starting in Wiltshire, indoor youth matches being played in the North of England between Bolton and West Yorkshire and outdoor adult leagues continuing in London and Bristol – as well as a number of teams getting back to internal training activity outdoors for the first time in a while. Clearly everyone’s appetite to play has not been diminished by the long period of inactivity – rather the opposite.

Wiltshire Youth Futsal League

After a 14 month hibernation, the Wiltshire Youth Futsal League roared back into action thanks to funding from LNFS England alongside Wiltshire Councils Area Board. On a glorious sunny spring day, Over 80 players from 12 teams coming from six different clubs took part across three age groups (u12, u14 and u16). The event saw 14 matches played over four hours at the venue in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Further match days are taking place in May and the league and Wiltshire FA are keen for more clubs to get involved in future. Organiser Stuart Garnett said “it’s been a long wait for the kids to get back playing and we are delighted with so many coming today and wish to thank all the players, parents and coaches for helping make today such a success.”

Futsal Premier League

Newham 2-2 ProFutsal Gold

Newham and ProFutsal Gold were both looking to bounce back after one goal defeats to strong opponents in the first round last week. Another tight, high quality, low scoring match saw ProFutsal take the lead in the first half. Newham worked hard to equalise early in the second half, only to immediately go behind less than a minute later. Newham upped the aggression levels pressing higher and higher, and eventually with barely a minute remaining found the equaliser through last season’s NFL Championship top scorer Nikita Podberiozkin. Both teams should be satisfied with their first points on the board – although catching their group leaders (Genesis & Wessex) will be tough.

Wessex 4-2 London International

Last week’s hero for Wessex – Jordan Matthews – opened the scoring against a London International team that was looking to get its first points of the campaign. After not conceding for 75 minutes in the FutsalPL, LIFC finally got the equaliser. Northern Ireland captain Adam Barr’s brace allowed Wessex to pull away – the first a majestic knee into the top corner, the second from a free kick which had been awarded after a professional foul and a red card by London International whilst playing fly to try and get back in the game. It didn’t put them off – they continued to play fly and it looked like it might pay off as the got one goal back to make it 3-2. Unfortunately for London International fans, last week’s hero became this week’s hero, as Matthews capped off a great move involving Ryan Desouza and Connor Millar to ensure Wessex claim victory by four goals to two.

UoH 0-2 Genesis

Genesis came away with three point against a tough and robust Uni of Herts team. Genesis forced mistakes by pressing them well which was impressive given the new look of their line-up. New signing, from Enfield & CM, Evander Lopes caused particular trouble for the Herts defence, and another great performance from Owen Locke in the Genesis goal contributed to a clean sheet.

Photo: marcmorris photography

360 Talent 1-5 Cambridge

Last weeks’ victors 360 Talent Academy struggled this week against a more experienced Cambridge outfit, who performed much better in round two than they did last week. A dominant display by Cambridge saw goals from Hardwick, Martinez, Griffins, and a brace from Jose Enrique.

ProFutsal Dev 2-2 Brunel

Brunel started the match strongly scoring one and missing a string of chances in the first half. ProFutsal’s young team found their way into the match and began to dominate with sharp movements and some clinical finishing, scoring two goals and missing further opportunities to increase their lead. Brunel managed to recover and the contest became more even, with Brunel eventually getting an equaliser still with plenty of time to play. A cagey final ten minutes saw both teams create a few half chances, and right at the end Brunel had an excellent 2 v 1 opportunity to take the three points, but we unable to convert. Another 2-2 draw in the excellent and exciting match.

Reading Royals 2-4 ProFutsal Blue

ProFutsal were without Ward and Rand, whilst a change in goal for the Royals saw Lant come in for them. ProFutsal were able to take the lead after dominating the first five minutes, eventually breaking through after a set piece by Denerson. Royals came back and were able to capitalise on their first real chance of the match to level it at 1-1 after a defensive error by ProFutsal. The hosts of this excellent tournament settled after this and began to crank through the gears and by mid-way in the second half found themselves in a comfortable 4-1 lead. Reading managed to get back in the game with a few minutes left – but this experienced ProFutsal team were able to deny them any further opportunities and saw the game out.

London Futsal League

Dronken Piraten 3-11 LDN Movements

Another runaway victory for LDN Movements, who look a very strong outfit. Goals were flying in from the start against a weakened Piraten team who were missing a few players from the last round. Zaid scored four goals for LDN Movements and now has eight in two matches.

Newham Res 6-4 Modo Leyenda

A great comeback for Newham who were at one point 0-3 down in this match. A confident Modo Leyenda probably pressed Newham a bit too much in the second half which left them overexposed and allowed Ben Protheroe in behind to score a hat-trick on the way to victory.

InterGen 7-3 West London

Important points on the board for InterGen after their defeat in round one – the two LNFS England clubs both fought hard with a very even first half finishing 2-2. West London lacked the same intensity in the second half, and a superb performance by Leon Bonah earned himself a hat-trick and InterGen the three points.

Los Benjamines 7-2 Old Boys

Passion, strength, skills, and dedication from Los Benjamines gave them the three paoints again this week. Nothing went Old Boys way, who hit the post several times and drew a string of excellent saves from the opposition keeper. Hat-tricks for Erick Jurado and David Alvarez were the difference on this occasion.

It’s great to see so many players and clubs enjoying futsal again, and playing matches regularly. We will continue to round up as much English futsal activity each week as we can – if you want to feature on any future round-up get in touch with us at [email protected]

Additional reporting by Play Futsal London (Instagram, Facebook)

LNFS England view on a European Super League for Association Football

Futsal is not association football (soccer). However, futsal is governed in most countries by that country’s national football association under a mandate given to them by FIFA, and many futsal players also play association football and support football clubs. As a result of this, the futsal community in England and elsewhere is inextricably linked to the football community both structurally and socially. It is therefore right for members of our community to take a view on the recently announced plans for a European Super League (ESL) in which a largely self-appointed “top 20” football clubs across Europe would compete in a separate competition.

One of the four strategic aims of the LNFS England vision is to work towards unification of English futsal into a connected and coherent futsal pyramid and pathway owned and run by its Member Clubs, and catering for players of any age, gender, or background, from elite to non-elite. Almost two thousand years ago Marcus Aurelius wrote: “What’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee.” The proposed ESL plans are clearly bad for the hive and we agree with the many governing bodies, national leaders, and supporters’ associations who have spoken out strongly against the ESL:

  • “We wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.” [Joint statement from UEFA, England’s Football Association, the Premier League, the Spanish Football Federation, La Liga the Italian Football Federation, and Serie A].
  • “A ‘closed super league model’ … would be strongly opposed by ECA.” [European Club Association].
  • “The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid. Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European super league would destroy this dream. A European super league will undermine the appeal of the whole game, and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper. We will work with fans, the FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game.” [English Premier League].
  • “Aspiration and sporting merits are an essential part of any sport and a vital component of the game we love. This proposed move would detract from the strength and joy of domestic football and diminish the game for the vast majority of fans across the continent.” [Professional Footballers’ Association].
  • “The motivation behind this so-called superleague is not furthering sporting merit or nurturing the world’s game – it is motivated by nothing but cynical greed.” [Football Supporters’ Association].
  • “Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action. They would strike at the heart of the domestic game and will concern fans across the country. The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.” [British Prime Minister].
  • “The ‘super league’ proposal leaked today cuts across all the things that make football great. It diminishes competition. It pulls up the drawbridge. It is designed for and by a small elite.” [British Leader of the Opposition].

…and the unanimous condemnation from supporters’ associations of the six English clubs involved in these ESL proposals:

  • “[Liverpool’s owners] have ignored fans in their relentless and greedy pursuit of money. Football is ours, not theirs. Our football club is ours not theirs.” [Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly].
  • “Football supporters across the world have experienced the ultimate betrayal” [Chelsea Supporters’ Trust].
  • “The death of Arsenal as a sporting institution” [Arsenal Supporters’ Trust].
  • “Those involved have zero regard for the game’s traditions”. [Manchester City Supporters’ Club].
  • “The ESL goes against everything football, and Manchester United, should stand for”. [The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust].
  • “The ESL is a concept driven by avarice and self-interest at the expense of the intrinsic values of the game we hold so dear”. [Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust].

Finally, we agree wholeheartedly with the British Culture Minister’s statement that the plans: “could create a closed shop at the very top of our national game. Sustainability, integrity, and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that undermines this is deeply troubling and damaging for football. We have a football pyramid where funds from the globally successful Premier League flow down the leagues and into local communities. I would be bitterly disappointed to see any action that destroys that.”

LNFS England fully shares this vision for sustainable and fair football and futsal pyramids, based on open competition and sporting merit, connected to their local communities, and not operating as a closed shop at the top.

UEFA Futsal Euro 2022 update

The UEFA Futsal Euro qualifying group stage has now ended, so all but one of the 16 participants are known. The 16th participant will be decided next November in a playoff between Serbia and Belarus.

The Futsal Euro tournament, which takes place in the Netherlands between 19th January and 6th February 2022, will feature the following national teams:

  • The Netherlands (hosts)
  • Qualifying Group stage winners:
    • Azerbaijan
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Croatia
    • Italy
    • Kazakhstan
    • Portugal (the holders)
    • Russia
    • Spain
  • Qualifying stage second-placed teams:
    • Finland
    • Georgia
    • Poland
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Ukraine
    • Plus either Belarus or Serbia

An England men’s national futsal team does not feature in this tournment. It was axed by the FA last September and the FA was subsequently fined by UEFA for failing to compete in a scheduled Futsal Euro 22 qualifying fixture against North Macedonia last November.

Calling all youth futsal league organisers across England

Yesterday we laid out our plans for LNFS England youth provision.

For u16s and all lower age groups we said the following:

  • We applaud the hard work and effort of many volunteers across the country in forming and running youth futsal leagues.
  • We wish to support these leagues and their organisers so that they maintain complete independence but have access to a wider network of other youth futsal teams and leagues, leading to increased opportunities for their players.
  • We will support these existing leagues and help establish new leagues in current futsal “blackspots”.
  • Well-governed, transparently run, and locally accountable futsal leagues will be supported in providing an appropriate pathway for youth players to transition into the adult game.
  • To begin the process of youth league co-ordination we are creating a steering group under the democratic control of youth league organisers. The aim of this group is to identify the best ways to promote co-ordination and collaboration between youth futsal leagues across the country in a way that best serves their players.

Please complete the contact form below if you organise a boys, girls, or mixed futsal league in England for u16s or any lower age group and would like to hear about ways in which your league might become part of a wider network of youth futsal leagues.

LNFS England – Youth futsal leagues

Background

Youth futsal provision in England has shown excellent growth over the past decade, largely thanks to the efforts of futsal clubs and independently run youth futsal leagues across the country, usually with the support of the relevant local County FA. However, there remains a major gap in provision during the transition phase between youth and adult futsal (U17/18s), and a lack of a joined-up programme on a regional or national scale leading up to this transition period. The FA Youth Futsal Cup existed to provide some level of national competition for youth futsal teams, but it remains unclear whether or how this will proceed in the future, and it relies on County FA organisation, which may or may not be available depending on location.

Recently, the FA announced that it would substantially cut its funding and support for futsal because according to their CEO it is not a “key enabler” for them. Instead, they will be concentrating their efforts only on programmes which directly contribute to achieving the “strategic goals” of winning FIFA and UEFA competitions with association football teams. The FA has made it clear that, in their opinion, supporting futsal as a sport in its own right does not qualify as a direct contributor to these strategic goals.

In the past many futsal clubs and County FAs received financial support from the FA to establish youth leagues. However, given these recent FA statements it is likely that this support will not continue unless the programmes directly contribute to association football strategic goals – for example, funding Wildcats centres which directly increase participation in girls’ football and futsal.

In light of the FA’s stance, we feel it is necessary to provide a more joined-up approach to youth futsal provision that will contribute to the growth of futsal as a sport in its own right. We also strongly believe that using the existing leagues, which have been built up over many years by volunteers’ hard work, rather than developing new league structures that compete with or replace existing leagues, is the best and fairest way to achieve this.

This proposal therefore has two main elements:

  1. A plan to support existing youth futsal leagues (up to U16s) across the country, tying particularly the older age groups together with showcase national finals events.
  2. Provision of a new national U18s competition to run in parallel (in terms of structure, clubs, and rules) with the adult LNFS England competition.

Existing youth futsal leagues (U6-U16)

Youth futsal leagues exist in many places across the country thanks to the hard and dedicated work of volunteers. Currently, youth league coverage does not stretch to every corner of England because leagues are concentrated in areas where there is a history of futsal activity, often thanks to the existence of adult futsal clubs which have grown the game in those local areas. For example, there are at least two or three youth futsal leagues in each of London, Birmingham, the Northwest, the East Midlands, and Yorkshire, whilst we are unaware of equivalent leagues in large parts of the Southwest, the South coast, some of the Home Counties, and parts of the Northeast.

Our proposal is to support these existing leagues in their growth by providing funding, administrative, and marketing support, and to aid the establishment of new leagues in current futsal “blackspots”. Our aim is to support well-governed, transparently run, and locally accountable futsal leagues and to assist them in providing an appropriate pathway for youth players to transition into the adult game. As an example, this means that at the lower age groups (e.g. U6-U10) all activity would remain local; that we might assist in creating regional competitions at intermediate age groups (U11-13); and we would then provide a national-level set of finals between the best teams from all the local youth futsal leagues (U14-16) which would operate for no more than a month concurrently with the adult LNFS England playoff competition, with full rules and full size courts which would allow this older youth age group to begin experiencing futsal in all its glory!

Therefore, we propose that any existing local youth leagues continue to operate along exactly the same lines as they currently do, but with additional support, either directly from LNFS England or from a new and independent futsal charity currently being formed. We would also facilitate creation of a steering group under the democratic control of futsal stakeholders to promote collaboration and co-ordination between youth futsal leagues so that best practise can be shared without imposition of conditions in a top-down fashion. Leagues would all retain their locally relevant identities, cultures and, most importantly, independence.

A new national U17/U18 competition

Last summer the National Futsal League, predecessor of LNFS England, announced it was launching a national U17s competition to run concurrently with the adult competition. Due to COVID-19 we later amended this to U18s to allow as many young people as possible to play under the COVID regulations. This LNFS England Youth competition could be formed at any level between U17-19, perhaps eventually also including U21s. However, one important consideration is that currently the FA only allows mixed gender futsal up to U18 and we would not wish to deny playing opportunities to any young woman.

At present, and to the best of our knowledge, no nationally co-ordinated futsal competitions, outside of educational settings such as colleges, currently exist for these age groups. The logic of creating a national league at these ages was and remains that there is currently a gap between youth futsal and adult futsal in England, and that the sport loses a large number of players to other sports and activities during these years. Hopefully both of these problems could be addressed by providing a high quality experience that mirrors existing national league structures.

The new youth competition would be managed by a Technical Committee operating under the LNFS England branding and commercial identity. The rules and regulations (e.g. court size, two referees plus timekeeper, and stop clock with 20-minute halves) would mirror the adult competition to prepare youth players for adult futsal in the best way possible. Additionally, clubs with adult as well as U18 LNFS England teams can have coordinated fixtures if the adult and youth league structures are similar, thereby minimising costs associated with operating additional teams, and hopefully allowing clubs to maximise their home match experience by providing an opportunity for parents and youth players to become spectators for adult matches following on from youth matches. 

Furthermore, youth players are often part of adult match day squads but, particularly at the higher levels, receive fewer court minutes than more experienced players, which reduces their involvement and can lead to disenchantment. Under the proposed system there would be an opportunity for at least some U18 players to be involved in both an U18 and an adult game on a single matchday, with a high likelihood that they would be given substantial playing time across both matches (with relevant safeguarding procedures in place to ensure that too much is not demanded of young players).

As outlined above for U14-16, a national set of play-offs for the LNFS England U18s league would be run simultaneously with the adult competition. Our plan would be to hold an event across one or more whole weekends, such as a bank holiday three-day weekend, at a high-quality spectator venue, with at least semi-finals and finals for all age groups involved.

In summary, LNFS England proposes to form and run a nationwide U18s league during the 2021-22 season. We also propose to work with local partners delivering younger age group youth futsal leagues across the country to help them co-ordinate their activities nationally while retaining their independence.

English futsal is back!

FUTSAL IS BACK IN ENGLAND – and this weekend we saw it return with a bang! The first organised adult futsal competitions in England since all of the leagues were suspended in March 2020 due to COVID-19 were able to take place outside. The only opportunity adults have had to play since then was during last autumn when there were a few one-off events, such as Save Futsal, and for players at those clubs who organised training sessions outdoors. LNFS England has encouraged Return to Play with a grant scheme to help support outdoors events around the country until indoors adult matches can restart next month.

Reading Royals Women’s Tournament

Saturday saw the return of competitive futsal to the Reading area, with Reading Royals Women’s side hosting the University of Derby and Bedford Futsal teams in a round-robin tournament on an outside pitch. The English weather didn’t dampen spirits as all three teams put in some great performances to celebrate the return of team sports.

The University of Derby and Bedford kicked off the competition, with the latter coming out as 2-0 victors. The Royals then started their day with a 3-0 win over the university side, with goals on their debuts for both Sammy Nazif and Louise Pullan as well as prolific goalscorer and vice-Captain Alicia Povey. The winning feeling didn’t last too long though, as the well-drilled Bedford side beat the hosts 1-0 in a hard-fought match.

The second round of matches finished in much the same style as the first, with Bedford overcoming the University of Derby and Reading, 2-0 and 3-2 respectively, while the Royals beat Derby 2-1. A particular shout-out to Bedford’s shot-stopper Nicole Raffermati who was especially commanding on the court, only conceding two goals all afternoon and sealing her team’s victories.

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Futsal Premier League & London Futsal League

The first proper competitive men’s matches since March 2020 began on Sunday, with a competition organised by the London Futsal League (LFL) starting in the morning, followed by The Futsal Premier League (FutsalPL) running through until the evening, held at the outdoor Futsal Arenas court at Westway, London, and supported by LNFS England. Quite a few LNFS England clubs are involved in these competitions and it’s great to see them active after such a long period without playing futsal.

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The LFL began with fixtures involving InterGen, West London, Old Boys, & Newham Reserves from LNFS England, and some new teams just starting their futsal journeys. The four matches saw a combined 48 goals during 3.5 hours of futsal involving over 70 players.

The FutsalPL had some excellent fixtures involving many of the best teams in the South of England.

ProFutsal Blue defeated Cambridge 6-1 in what was a dominant start for them and the tournament as a whole.

Current LNFS England Premiership South champions Reading Royals began with a fixture against ProFutsal’s Development side, with both sides featuring many young players. The two young teams matched up well and a tightly contested first half saw a string of phenomenal saves from young Pro keeper Meisel. The second half opened up with the Royals making their experience count, eventually winning 9-4.

Brunel Futsal Pro, a new LNFS England team for next season, lost their opening match 6-2 against the 360 Talent Soccer Academy. Brunel had started the match well and looking comfortable with a 2-0 lead early in the second half. Four goals in five minutes from 360 turned the match on its head and a deflated Brunel who were missing several players briefly rallied only to concede a further two goals late on.

A match of the day ended up being Wessex’s 1-0 win versus ProFutsal Gold. Jordan Matthews was the league’s top scorer last season and his goal set Wessex on their way here, backed up by a brilliant defensive effort by Wessex to shut out the Pros – we all know how tense and exciting low scoring matches like this can be, especially with Wessex defending their one goal lead for most of the game.

Arguably another match-up of the day involved East London’s biggest club Genesis and their local rivals Newham and it also didn’t disappoint. Genesis eventually prevailed as 3-2 winners despite missing several key players, after coming back from behind thanks to a 10m penalty rebound in the final minutes. Newham had also seen a 6m penalty saved earlier in the match.

The final match was another tense and tight low scoring fixture with the University of Hertforshire beating London International 2-0.

This is how the group tables look after the first matchday:

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In the coming weeks, more futsal events will be either starting or continuing around England and we’ll be sure to keep you updated with their progress.

JOMA and L4 Teamwear partnership with LNFS England

The LNFS England Board is very pleased to announce a four-year agreement with JOMA and L4 Teamwear under which JOMA becomes our official technical partner and L4 Teamwear becomes our official teamwear partner.

JOMA, headquartered in Spain, is the official technical sponsor of all Spanish indoor futsal and the official ball supplier for all Spanish LNFS First Division competitions, including the Spanish Super Cup, League matches, the Spanish Cup, and title play offs, as well as all Second Division matches.

L4 Teamwear, based in Hampshire UK, specialises in providing high quality branded sportswear and equipment to teams, clubs and associations at all levels and is an approved JOMA supplier.

JOMA and L4 Teamwear will support LNFS England next season by providing playing kit and equipment and creating an online store with discounted rates for Member Clubs.

As a result of this agreement, next season all LNFS England league matches will be played with an official LNFS England JOMA match ball supplied to clubs, and match officials will be provided with full JOMA kit.

Further details of the online LNFS England Club Store will be sent to all Member Clubs shortly.

Peter Sharples, LNFS England Commercial Director says: LNFS England is delighted to announce this partnership with JOMA and L4 Teamwear, which will grow as we continue to grow both the league and futsal across England.”   

A futsal arena strategy for LNFS England

Palma Futsal, Palau Municipal d´Esports de Son Moix, capacity 3800.

Introduction

Last week we examined the relative merits of a Home & Away versus Central Venue format for English futsal and concluded that most sports in most places use a Home & Away format because it is the best way to generate local interest, community involvement, and club revenue. 

However, we also noted the commonly voiced complaint within the futsal community that there are too few high-quality venues accessible to English futsal clubs. Our discussions with clubs reveal that although the reasons for this can differ across the country, the main barriers are:

  • A lack of appropriate size halls in some parts of the country, so only relatively small courts can be marked out;
  • A lack of futsal-related equipment at some venues (i.e. futsal goals, scoreboards, and floor markings);
  • The refusal of some venues to allow ball sports such as futsal;
  • Expense; and
  • Lack of availability because of high demand for hall space from other activities.

In this article we outline LNFS England’s strategy to address the problem of futsal venue quality and availability and ask for your practical help in addressing this.

In consultation with our partners at the LNFS, who have over 32 years’ experience in helping clubs to develop top-class futsal venues in Spain, we have identified five phases to this strategy.

Phase 1: Gather existing venue data (May 2021)

During this Phase we will use our network of clubs, supporters, County FA colleagues, and others to gather data on potentially suitable existing futsal sports halls in England, whether owned privately or publicly, and irrespective of whether these venues are currently used for futsal.

Sport England’s Active Places database provides a good starting point. It identifies approximately 80 halls which could potentially accommodate a futsal court measuring at least 38 x 20 m, and over 250 halls which could potentially accommodate a futsal court measuring at least 33 x 17 m.

The aim of this Phase is to capture simple data on every English sports hall which could potentially accommodate a futsal court measuring between 33 – 42 m long x 17 – 25 m wide, with a runoff of at least 1 m (and preferably at least 2 m).

Phase 2: Identify priority venue locations (May-June 2021)

During this Phase we will rank and prioritise the halls identified in Phase 1 according to these main criteria:

  • Court size;
  • Spectator capacity;
  • Availability of futsal-related markings and equipment;
  • Location in relation to population centres; and
  • Location in relation to existing futsal clubs.

The aim of this Phase is to produce a prioritised list of existing or potential futsal venues which might form an appropriate England-wide network of facilities, at least for the immediate future.

Phase 3: Identify and address any barriers to current venue access (July-August 2021)

During this Phase we will contact and interview the management teams of venues prioritised in Phase 2 to explore with them any barriers to futsal access. This will include discussion of:

  • Whether management welcomes futsal in their venue;
  • Futsal equipment availability at the venue;
  • Cost; and
  • Availability.

The aim of this Phase is to identify any physical, financial, or managerial barriers to venue use by futsal clubs. We will then develop, publish, and publicly consult with our Member Clubs on a costed plan to overcome as many of these barriers as possible so that we can begin to develop an English Futsal Facility Network.

Phase 4: Identify any new-build requirements (September 2021 on)

During this Phase we will identify those locations in England where new-build facilities appear to be necessary because there is either no suitable existing infrastructure, or barriers to futsal’s use of existing infrastructure cannot be overcome.

The aim of this Phase is to provide a compelling business and social case for any new-build futsal facilities and then to work with local partners to make this new-build happen.

Phase 5: Gold standard futsal arenas (2022 onwards)

Futsal arenas used by LNFS Primera División clubs in Spain provide a benchmark to which top English futsal clubs aspire.

During this Phase we will undertake a gap analysis with our LNFS colleagues in Spain to map out and plan the activities and timescales over which we move English futsal arena quality toward this international benchmark.

How can YOU help?

The English futsal community has many thousands of members, including players, coaches, and fans. We need your help during Phases 1 and 2 to gather reliable basic data on existing halls which will then help us prioritise venues for subsequent contact.

Please complete the contact form below if you are interested in helping with this project by visiting up to 10 potential venues in your local area.

We will provide you with a list of these venues and your task will be to confirm the hall size (plus the marked out or potential futsal court size), spectator capacity, and futsal equipment availability for each venue.

By working together, the English futsal community can collectively move towards solving the problem of venue quality and quantity so that our clubs and players are no longer constrained by poor facilities.

UEFA Futsal Euro 2022 qualifying stages

Here’s a brief summary of qualifying group results and forthcoming fixtures for national teams competing in the UEFA Futsal Euro 2022 (with thanks to our friends at FutsalFeed).

Several matches will be played over the next few days, including today, so more updates will follow.

Group 1: Croatia (qualified), Ukraine, Denmark, Albania

Results
8 April: Ukraine 8-2 Denmark
7 April: Denmark 2-6 UkraineAlbania 0-3 Croatia
7 March: Ukraine 2-7 Croatia
4 March: Denmark 2-3 Albania
3 March: Croatia 3-2 UkraineAlbania 1-3 Denmark
31 January: Albania 3-10 Ukraine
30 January: Denmark 1-4 Croatia
27 January: Croatia 4-1 Albania

Fixtures
11 April: Croatia vs DenmarkUkraine vs Albania (match cancelled)

Group 2: Russia (qualified), Georgia, France, Armenia

Results
9 April: Armenia 2-5 RussiaGeorgia 3-2 France
10 March: Armenia 2-3 Georgia
9 March: Russia 5-1 France
5 March: France 2-3 RussiaGeorgia 5-0 Armenia
3 February: Armenia 4-4 France
2 February: Georgia 0-4 Russia
29 January: Russia 6-0 Armenia
8 December: France 4-4 Georgia

Fixtures
12 April: Russia vs Georgia
14 April: France vs Armenia

Group 3: Azerbaijan (qualified), Slovakia, Moldova, Greece

Results
9 April: Greece 3-3 Moldova
8 April: Slovakia 1-1 Azerbaijan
9 March: Moldova 3-5 Azerbaijan
7 March: Greece 0-5 Slovakia
4 March: Azerbaijan 5-1 MoldovaSlovakia 6-0 Greece
2 February: Greece 0-3 AzerbaijanSlovakia 4-4 Moldova
29 January: Azerbaijan 4-1 Slovakia
28 January: Moldova 3-1 Greece

Fixtures
13 April: Moldova vs Slovakia
14 April: Azerbaijan vs Greece

Group 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina (qualified), Serbia, Romania, North Macedonia

Results
9 April: Serbia 4-4 Romania
8 April: North Macedonia 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina
10 March: Bosnia and Herzegovina 5-0 Romania
9 March: North Macedonia 1-6 Serbia
5 March: Serbia 1-1 North Macedonia
4 March: Romania 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 February: Serbia 2-4 Bosnia and HerzegovinaNorth Macedonia 2-2 Romania
28 January: Romania 2-2 SerbiaBosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 North Macedonia

Fixtures
14 April: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs SerbiaRomania vs North Macedonia

Group 5: Kazakhstan (qualified), Hungary, Belarus, Israel

Results
9 April: Israel 1-4 Kazakhstan
6 April: Hungary 1-6 KazakhstanBelarus 14-0 Israel
10 March: Israel 1-4 Hungary
8 March: Belarus 1-6 Kazakhstan
3 March: Hungary 3-7 Israel
2 March: Kazakhstan 5-2 Belarus
3 February: Hungary 2-1 Belarus
9 December: Kazakhstan 5-0 Hungary
8 December: Israel 0-3 Belarus

Fixtures
11 April: Kazakhstan vs Israel
13 April: Belarus vs Hungary

Group 6: Spain (qualified), Slovenia, Latvia, Switzerland

Results
10 April: Switzerland 0-8 Spain
8 April: Latvia 4-1 Switzerland
9 March: Latvia 1-12 SpainSwitzerland 1-11 Slovenia
6 March: Slovenia 1-2 Spain
5 March: Switzerland 2-4 Latvia
2 February: Spain 3-1 Slovenia
29 January: Latvia 0-1 Slovenia
8 December: Spain 7-0 LatviaSlovenia 12-1 Switzerland

Fixtures
12 April: Slovenia vs LatviaSpain vs Switzerland

Group 7: Italy (qualified), Belgium, Finland, Montenegro

Results
9 April: Montenegro 1-2 Finland
8 April: Belgium 5-4 Italy
9 March: Italy 4-1 Belgium
8 March: Finland 6-1 Montenegro
5 March: Finland 2-4 Italy
4 March: Montenegro 4-3 Belgium
2 February: Italy 7-4 FinlandBelgium 6-2 Montenegro
28 January: Montenegro 0-3 ItalyBelgium 3-3 Finland

Fixtures
13 April: Finland vs BelgiumItaly vs Montenegro

Group 8: Portugal (holders), Czech Republic, Poland, Norway

Results
9 April: Czech Republic 3-3 Poland
9 March: Czech Republic 1-5 Portugal
8 March: Poland 4-1 Norway
6 March: Portugal 3-3 Czech Republic
5 March: Norway 0-3 Poland
3 February: Poland 0-3 Portugal
1 February: Norway 0-5 Czech Republic (match cancelled)
29 January: Portugal 2-2 PolandCzech Republic 5-0 Norway (match cancelled)

Fixtures
11 April: Norway vs Portugal
14 April: Poland vs Czech Republic, Portugal vs Norway