Attractive and spectacular: the future belongs to Futsal
Since July 1999, Victor Beceiro has been working with FIFA where, among his other duties, he is responsible for Futsal, as the five-a-side indoor game is officially known. The Spaniard is convinced that Futsal has a bright future in front of it and that the 2000 FIFA Futsal World Cup to be held in Guatemala will be a success in every respect.
FIFA Magazine: The FIFA Futsal World Cup will be held between 18 November and 3 December in Guatemala. What are your expectations of this tournament?
Victor Beceiro: I'm convinced that we will see a tournament providing high-quality, attractive Futsal. There will be 16 teams taking part in this, the 4th FIFA Futsal World Cup. Besides the host team, there will be five representatives from UEFA, three from the AFC, three from CONMEBOL, two from CONCACAF and one each from the CAF and OFC organisations. I am sure that this event will be extremely well organised and will go down well with the spectators in every respect. The local Organising Committee in Guatemala is setting about its task with enthusiasm and the local population is looking forward to this World Cup event.
There seems to be widespread enthusiasm for Futsal.
That's right, and the interest in the game is growing all the time. To take one example, 46 countries took part in the qualifying for the 1996 Futsal World Cup in Spain, and now 70 countries have entered for the qualifying stages for this year's event. More and more sponsors and TV broadcasters are expressing an interest in involvement with Futsal. Futsal has a bright future in front of it.
Is this also the reason why FIFA established a Futsal section within its organisation in July 1999?
FIFA is convinced that Futsal is and will be an important and attractive component part of football. The aim is to promote Futsal, to make it more popular still and to train up its representatives. This means, among other things, training courses for coaches, referees and officials being planned. For example, in February training courses were put on in Jordan, China, Thailand and Uzbekistan. FIFA will also be launching a number of Futsal projects. As one of the most important measures to be addressed, the laws of the game dating back to 1995 have now been revised. These new rules have been in effect since 1 January 2000.
Why were the laws of the game changed?
To make what was already a spectacular game even more attractive, to provide the players with even more protection against injuries and to provide extra support for fair play. And the new laws of the game are also clear and simple.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and Ricardo Teixeira Terra, chairman of the Committee for Futsal, with the new member of the Futsal Committee, Colin Klass of Guyana (centre).
The local organising committee for the FIFA Futsal World Championship Guatemala 2000: Roberto Arzú, President Rafael Tinoco and Javier Arzú.
What development opportunities are open to Futsal?
Nobody who saw the final of the 1996 Futsal World Cup when Brazil beat the host country Spain 6 - 4 in a tremendous match and the capacity crowd of 15,000 spectators packed into the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona created a marvellous atmosphere, could fail to be fascinated. Futsal guarantees spectacle and emotion and this sport is the best kind of entertainment. Its development potential is enormous. More and more people are discovering Futsal and are completely captivated by it. In the meantime, Futsal is played in at least 90 countries, with the numbers of participants rising all the time. In countries like Spain, Italy, Russia and Brazil there are professional leagues in existence. In Spain, for example crowds of 7000 and 8000 attend top matches.
What makes Futsal so fascinating?
Futsal is a perfect schooling platform for improving technique, agility and speed. Futsal provides excellent training for those players who will later want to switch to conventional football. Ronaldo, for one, played Futsal regularly as a child and a youth. Last January, at the FIFA World Club Championship, for the final between the two Brazilian teams, Vasco da Gama and Corinthians, on the pitch there were a total of 11 players who had started out in Futsal.
Futsal is very popular in Brazil - and the Brazilians dominate in this sport. The World Cup has been held three times before and we have had three Brazilian victories.
The Brazilians are very strong and Futsal is played extensively in the largest country of South America where it is extremely popular. However, other countries have been catching up. The standard of play today is considerably higher than it was five years ago. The game is technically superior and has become even more spectacular.
Has Futsal also become more violent?
No. Futsal is a sport which does not permit any excessive physical contact. The number of injuries sustained is correspondingly low. The new laws of the game also support fair play and crude fouls are punished accordingly.
Is Futsal also popular with young people and women?
Futsal is becoming more popular at all levels, so this means we are also seeing growth in the numbers of young players and women involved. So it will be no surprise if in the near future we see tournaments being held at international level for under 20 and women's teams.
Main changes in the new Futsal Laws of the Game
Law 1: The Pitch
Second penalty mark: from 12 to 10 m.
Law 3: Number of Players
All substitutions are considered under the same procedure, including the goalkeeper's. It is not necessary to stop the clock. A goalkeeper may change his place with any other player.
Law 7: the Timekeeper and the Third Referee
The third referee is appointed as a compulsory official for international matches. Both officials' duties have been reassigned.
Law 8: The Duration of the Match
Time-out may be requested at any time but will only be conceded when the team has ball possession.
The half-time interval shall not exceed 15 minutes.
Law 9 The Start and Restart of Play
A goal can be scored directly from a kick-off.
Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct
The goalkeeper can control the ball for more than four (4) seconds in the opponent's half of the pitch.
Law 15: The Penalty kick
The opposing goalkeeper has to remain on his own goal line until the ball has been kicked.
Law 17: The Goal Clearance
The ball MAY pass the halfway line of the pitch without first having been touched or played by any player or having touched the goalkeeper's own half of the pitch. This procedure also applies at any time when the goalkeeper has ball possession.Referee signals are depicted in the 2000 edition of the Futsal Laws of the Game.