This week Scotland has had representation, through IFA Scotland at the IFA World Cup in Spain. There have been teams involved in the male game at u14, u17, u21 and adult levels and a team representing the women.
The tournament is not as prestigious as a FIFA or UEFA event and the standard isn't as high but what it does do is provides the players with the opportunity to experience futsal at a higher level than what is out there in Scotland and an opportunity to fall in love with the game.
Over the course of this week, I have seen real progress in the players, the coaches and the teams. The performances and the results over the last couple of days have shown this.
The teams are due to return to Scotland tomorrow and the challenge is now to continue the good work carried out in Spain and to keep developing our players and coaches without having to cross the border or make trips abroad to do so. This might require some players to make decisions about where their priorities lie.
Last season Futsal Escocia entered the SFL regional league in Edinburgh and although the league was a good starting point for the players, the court size at the Oriam does not properly prepare them for matches on an international size court and with stop clock conditions. To properly develop our players and coaches, they have to be playing in proper futsal conditions. In Scotland, the only league that plays these conditions is the Super League and clubs currently have no idea what is happening with the leagues. Governance has to improve because we are failing the players and failing the sport of futsal in its current structure.
The SFA, under UEFA and FIFA, control futsal in Scotland and we have a national team at men's level as well as the regional leagues and Super Leagues that provide UEFA Champions League qualification. Since Futsal Escocia started in 2015 I have seen absolutely no progress in the structure of the game.
To further develop the game the following have to be a priority:
If the SFA cannot do any of the above, then we have to look at different options of how we can continue to develop futsal.
To learn about futsal we shouldn't have to travel the world to do so.
On sharing this post, we will undoubtedly upset those that govern the game and we put our own league status at risk by doing so. We have previously been threatened about our own youth leagues despite the SFA or SYFA doing nothing to provide grassroots players with the opportunity to play futsal. We and a few other clubs are proving a futsal pathway on our own and a little assistance from governance wouldn't go a miss. We have been open to working with them, but they appear to be only interested if they make money from it.
I and a growing number of people are passionate about futsal and love the game in Scotland. Now is the time to work together and make changes that can benefit the sport and the national game.