January 31st 2021

In response to the English Football Association’s significant reduction in support for English futsal, the National Futsal League and Leisure Leagues have for several months been exploring the feasibility of a partnership to deliver the following benefits to futsal clubs and players:

-Democratic governance of futsal across England, with the game owned, controlled, and run by futsal clubs for futsal clubs;

-Home and away fixtures in an integrated, countrywide league competition which is open to all;

-Sponsorship and investment opportunities to help build sustainable futsal clubs;

-International club tournaments such as past very successful events already delivered in Croatia, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia and Belgium, with other competitions planned in the near future in Mexico, Moldova and the UK;

-Player pathways for all age groups and for both males and females, up to and including England national futsal teams; and

-Growth of futsal participation across the country using LL’s proven model for success.

The NFL is the largest and longest-running open futsal league in England. Together with its Member Clubs and the rest of the futsal community, the NFL has waited patiently for an updated futsal strategy and meaningful commitment to futsal from the FA. However, it is now clear that the FA’s offer does not satisfy our community’s needs. The NFL therefore looks forward to a potential new relationship with LL to establish an exciting competition for the benefit of all Member Clubs. We would seek to expand as quickly as possible into a complete competitive platform, with opportunities for all ages from six to adult, and for players from all genders and backgrounds. We are committed to following FIFA laws of the game for futsal in all our leagues and competitions.

Leisure Leagues is the pre-eminent global provider of leagues, competitions, and events for small-sided sports. Operating on five continents and in multiple countries across the globe, with 200,000 small-sided football players in the UK and 5 million worldwide, LL is now building out platforms for other sports, including futsal, netball, and hockey. LL would provide the infrastructure (website, player registrations, league management, match officials, recording of game statistics, broadcasting platform) to support futsal in England through a dedicated futsal website and operating platform. LL also has significant relationships with sports venues, sponsors, and advertisers who would be attracted to this new futsal platform. Revenue sharing with clubs would be an essential part of these arrangements. LL runs the world’s premier 6 a side World Cups, building bespoke stadia for these events and attracting an online viewing audience of 360 million for their last World Cup. International futsal tournaments would use the same broadcasting approach plus the same stadium infrastructure as shown in this photograph but fitted with a futsal court floor.

Following a significant period of uncertainty and unaccountability, plus the withdrawal of most funding and the axing of England National Teams by the FA, our community deserves reformed governance and structure to develop futsal as its own sport and not just an optional “extra” for association football. Whilst the NFL has taken the initiative so far, we warmly welcome contributions and democratic participation from other English futsal leagues, clubs, players, and match officials, as well as the newly formed English Futsal Clubs Association (EFCA).

Our vision is to create the shared future structure for futsal that our community deserves –“Our Futsal – Our Future”.

Join us on our journey! We’ll be holding a series of virtual town hall meetings to develop and shape this potential partnership, with democratic input from futsal stakeholders.

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