Futsal review: June-August

FIFA.com takes a look at the major events in the world of Futsal over the past three months, which includes the scheduling of the European Zone qualifying phase for the next FIFA Futsal World Cup, as well as the organization of a number of courses on Asian soil designed to ensure Thailand 2012 goes as smoothly as possible.

Nor was there a lack of news on the club front, particularly in Asia and in Europe, where FC Barcelona celebrated winning Spain’s National Futsal League (LNFS) for the very first time.

Highlights
Europe’s finest Futsal practitioners now know the route they must follow to reach the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012. The draw for the qualifying phase took place in July and divided the 41 hopefuls into seven groups. The top two teams from each group will then go into a play-off phase, from which seven will earn a ticket to Thailand.

Development
During June, July and August, FIFA have been busy carrying out Futsal development activities on four different continents. In Asia, with a view towards preparing for the Thailand 2012 qualifying phase, FIFA organised two joint courses for both Futsal coaches and referees, held in Cambodia and Uzbekistan.

In Africa, meanwhile, Portuguese-speaking nations Cape Verde Islands and Guinea-Bissau were the beneficiaries of courses for local coaches, who were able to draw on the FIFA instructors’ tactical knowledge and experience. Venezuelan Futsal referees were able to take in the teachings of FIFA instructors thanks to a specialist course, while there was also a coaching course held in Cyprus.

Futsal across the globe
The Asian Futsal Club Championship was held in Qatar during June/July, with a representative from eight different nations. In the final, Japan’s Nagoya Oceans sank Irani outfit Shahid Mansouri 3-2 to take the title. Staying in Asia, the United Arab Emirates were awarded hosting rights for the Asian Futsal Championship 2012, the tournament that will determine which of the region’s representatives take part in Thailand 2012.

August saw the conclusion of the preliminary round of the UEFA Futsal Cup, with Club Futsal Eindhoven the last of the 24 clubs to seal qualification for the main round. Among the others to match that feat were FS Ilves Tampere, FC Geneva, KMF Leotar Trebinje, Vegakameratene, ETO FC Gyor and AC Omonia, with the 24 sides drawn in six groups, from which the top-two teams progress to the elite round. There they will be joined by the competition’s four seeded sides, who qualify directly for that stage.

Finally, staying on the club scene, FC Barcelona were crowned Spanish Futsal champions for the very first time, after claiming victory in the LNFS’ Division de Honor.

Coming up
Over the next two months, FIFA and its member associations will organise a number of activities designed to encourage Futsal development. European nations Malta, Austria, Armenia, Switzerland and Lithuania are all set to host events, while countries from outside European shores, including Cameroon, Sudan, Paraguay and Costa Rica, will also reap the benefits of FIFA’s expertise.