The Home of FIFA in Zurich was the setting for a seminar attended by some of futsal's most esteemed specialists. Held on 13-15 May, the event provided an opportunity to discuss various aspects relating to the game. Among those present was Venancio Lopez, the new coach of Spain, the runners-up at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008. Finding time between the various meetings and debates focusing on competitions, technical advances, refereeing and the youth and women's games, Lopez granted an exclusive interview to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Mr Lopez, why are you at the Seminar?
Venancio Lopez: We want to lay the foundations for the future and, above all, assess the contribution futsal can make to FIFA as a whole.
What are the key aspects in your opinion?
In short, there are two main areas in which futsal can make a contribution to FIFA. Firstly, it is the best tool for educating future players. If you look back, the youth teams of Brazil and Spain have always performed at a very high standard in global competitions and players in both countries take up futsal at a very early stage. Secondly, futsal is a new way of attracting people to the sport as a whole, not just to futsal itself but to football and the world of FIFA in general.
In your capacity as the national coach could you tell us why Spain is a world leader in futsal?
It's all to do with coaching, and it all started with the training of coaches. Spain now has more than 12,000 qualified coaches. It was their job to then pass on what they had learnt to the players, and I think we can say that Spain has a futsal set-up to rival Brazil.
What is your next objective as Spain coach?
We want to win the European Championship again, which is taking place in Hungary next January. But we'd also like to concentrate on strengthening the basic structure to maintain the standard of the game in Spain. We mustn't forget about youth categories or the women's game either.
You have taken over from a great coach in Javier Lozano. How do you feel about being his successor?
I was an assistant coach to Javier before taking on this position, and the fact is that it's been very easy for me to go about my job because of all the hard work that's been carried out before. We've produced some very talented players and what we now need to do is maintain our standards and make the next step, to instil that winning mentality at youth level.