Frenetic activity on the futsal front

There has been no shortage of activity in the world of futsal lately. Aside from the qualifying competition for the UEFA futsal EURO 2012 in February, development seminars have been held in Belarus and Morocco, and prestigious club tournaments staged in Spain. FIFA.com brings you up to speed.

The main event
The qualifiers for the UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 were held in late February, with 11 teams earning a place in the final draw which will be made in the Croatian city of Zagreb on 9 September 2011. Joining hosts Croatia in the hat are Spain, Azerbaijan, Russia, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey, Romania, Czech Republic and Ukraine.

Development
FIFA held two futsal training courses in Belarus at the start of February, one for coaches and the other for referees. Spain’s national team boss Venancio Lopez put the coaches through their paces, while fellow countryman and FIFA instructor Pedro Galan took the refereeing course.

Lopez has a hugely impressive track record. Since his tenure began in 2007, Spain have won 49 of the 51 matches played, drawing the other two. As well as steering his side to the European title in 2007 and 2010, Lopez also guided them to the final of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008, where they lost on penalties to the hosts.

Taking charge of another training course for coaches in Morocco was Benny Meurs, Belgium’s national futsal boss between 2003 and 2010.

Futsal around the world
The final of the Spanish Futsal Cup was held in Segovia in early February, with Barcelona Alusport downing ElPozo Murcia 3-2 to take the title. It was a close run thing for the Catalans, however, with ElPozo scoring two late goals after going 3-0 down.

It was Madrid’s turn in the spotlight in March, as the city hosted the Intercontinental Futsal Cup, the first time the competition has been staged since 2008. Taking part were local favourites Inter Movistar, SL Benfica of Portugal, Brazil’s Carlos Barbosa and GH Bank RBAC Futsal of Thailand. And it was Madrid-based Inter who ran out winners, beating the Brazilian outfit in the deciding game.

What they said
“I’ve been surprised by the average age of the participants on this course. I’ve seen a lot of young referees who are in excellent physical condition and have plenty of time and potential to develop further. The national futsal association has also shown real commitment to developing the sport here,” FIFA instructor Pedro Galan gives his view on the referee’s course in Belarus.

“I think Moroccan players have what it takes to excel at futsal. In technical and physical terms they already have a high standard, and what we need to do now is help them adapt to futsal and learn the tactical aspects of the game,” FIFA instructor Benny Meurs is impressed by what he sees on the coaching course in Morocco.

Coming up
Following on from its January 2011 coaching course, FIFA will be holding a futsal referees’ course on 11-15 April.

The semi-finals of the UEFA Futsal Cup will take place at the end of the month, with Sporting Clube de Portugal taking on Kazakhstan’s Kairat Almaty in the first game, and Benfica doing battle with Montesilvano of Italy. The final will be held on 1 May.

Also in May, FIFA will be organising a futsal instructors seminar at Las Rozas in Spain, with 40 participants from all the confederations taking part. FIFA will be presenting new futsal training material at the seminar, the first of its kind to be held since 2005.