The International Socca Federation, using the term ‘ISF’ or ‘Socca’, will be launching in Birmingham at the prestigious Hyatt Regency Hotel on Thursday 8th February 2018.
The Federation brings together all the key players, and largest organisers, of small-sided (5, 6, 7 and 8-a-side)football across the world, who will all meet in Birmingham to officially form the new Federation and establish the Federation as the first truly global small-sided football Federation in the world.
The idea is the brainchild of the joint effort between league operators around the world and Leisure Leagues, who represent the largest body of small-sided players in the world.
Countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia will be present amongst 30 nations and representing over 3 million small-sided football players globally.
The new Federation will also launch the first officially recognised World Cup for small-sided football in Portugal in October 2018 where a bespoke pitch will be designed on a beach in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon.
Star players from around the globe are adding their weight to give support to the Federation, with messages of support coming from star names such as Ronaldinho and Ryan Giggs.
Additionally, the world’s foremost referee, Mark Clattenburg, who refereed the final of Euro 2016, will also be attending the meeting, as will other significant figures from the leisure industry and the media world.
Andy Thorley, from Leisure Leagues UK, commented “this will be the first time that all the significant small-sided football operators from all around the world will be brought together, and more and more countries will be joining over the next few months to create a truly global presence and voice for the millions of underrepresented small-sided football players across the world who currently participate in organised leagues in their own country. Not only are we giving them a voice, but an opportunity to reach the pinnacle in their sport, as well as ensuring that we develop small-sided football, in the form of Socca, to young people and the most disadvantaged areas of societies anywhere in the world. At its core value this is a project which will ensure that every person, regardless of ability or economics, should be able to have access to a competitive small-sided football league near them.”
Leisure Leagues UK spokesman Tom Nash commented “the huge advantage of small-sided football is that it focuses on amateur players and people who may not have the requisite skills to play 11-a-side football. In that sense, it is a great leveller. It gives opportunities to people who previously had none. There are organisers right across the world who the Federation is bringing together who all have the same aims of increasing participation in sport for all people across the globe to ensure we have fitter, healthier and more active nations. In this respect, this is a Federation which everybody can support and be a part of.”
Thanos Papadopoulos, who operates Greece’s leading small-sided football agency, commented “I am thrilled to be a part of this new Federation which will, for the first time, give a real voice to small-sided football and give the game a presence internationally which before it has lacked. We know already that far more people play small-sided football than they do 11-a-side, and that it attracts more disadvantaged members of communities, and that is why it is so important to headline what we are doing to the world.”
Christoph Koechy, who runs Germany’s largest small-sided league operator, Uni-Liga, said “finally, in 5, 6, 7 and 8-a-side football we have a Federation which is being run for its members and has ethical and moral aims to promote small-sided football across the globe to the poorest and most disadvantaged communities. With the backing that the Federation has already received I can see only great times ahead to promote the word of small-sided football across the world, and I am tremendously excited and looking forward to the challenge.”
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