LNFS England launched its Futsal Arena Strategy in April.
During Phase 1 of the Strategy we used Sport England’s Active Places database to identify existing sports halls in England that could potentially accommodate futsal courts of different sizes.
- 250 halls could accommodate a court at least 33 m long x 20 m wide with a 1 m runoff.
- 230 halls could accommodate a court at least 35 m long x 20 m wide with a 1 m runoff.
- 78 halls could accommodate a court at least 38 m long x 20 m wide with a 2 m runoff.
- 68 halls could accommodate a court at least 40 m long x 20 m wide with a 2 m runoff (although one venue would only allow a 1 m runoff at the sides).
We have now contacted the management of all 250 halls that could accommodate a court at least 33 m long x 20 m wide with a 1 m runoff and asked them whether a futsal court is marked out in their hall and, if they answered yes, its length and width.
So far there’s been a 49% response rate from venue managers and we will continue to chase those that have yet to respond. Amongst those that have responded:
- 47% have a futsal court marked out; and
- 53% do not.
The median dimensions of the futsal courts in those halls that have one marked out are:
- Length = 33 m.
- Width = 18 m.
The upper quartile of halls with futsal courts (i.e. the largest 25%) have minimum dimensions of:
- Length = 36 m.
- Width = 20 m.
The lower quartile of halls with futsal courts (i.e. the smallest 25%) have maximum dimensions of:
- Length = 31 m.
- Width = 16.2 m.
In other words, half of all marked out English futsal courts reported by respondents are 33 m x 18 m or smaller, with a quarter of them measuring 31 m x 16 m or smaller.
FIFA minimum court dimensions for international futsal matches are 38 m x 20 m. Only 8 venues out of those that responded fulfil this requirement.
However, closer examination of the data for those halls that could accommodate a futsal court of at least 38 m x 20 m with a 2 m runoff shows:
- 38 venues have not yet responded so are a priority for us to chase for a response over the next few days.
- 21 venues do have futsal markings, but 13 of these venues have marked out courts smaller than the international standard, even though it appears that their hall could accommodate a larger court.
- 19 venues do not have a futsal court marked out.
The map below shows how these 78 halls are distributed across England:
These initial data suggest that there is the potential to use existing venue infrastructure to provide a network of improved futsal facilities across England if we can overcome the following two main obstacles:
- Venues that have space to mark out a larger court could be encouraged to do so. However, this may require a trade-off between court size and the amount of spectator seating available in those venues where provision of more seating leads to a smaller court. The appropriate balance between these two objectives is something for the wider English futsal community to consider. Given the current stage of futsal development in England do we want more international sized courts or do we want to increase spectator capacity and play on smaller courts?
- Venues that do not currently have a futsal court marked out might be incentivised to do so. We believe that there is a clear role for the FA, English futsal’s governing body, to provide appropriate incentives and encouragement to the managers of larger sports halls to mark out international size futsal courts.
We would like to thank the volunteers who have helped collect these data. We will provide a further update after we have obtained information from the 38 large venues that are yet to respond and have engaged in further discussion with the 19 venues that do not currently have a futsal court marked out.
We would also like to thank colleagues at Sport England who met with us last month to agree changes to the Active Places database that will help the futsal community gather further information on futsal-ready facilities across England.