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Proposed structural change to Futsal Summer Competition (NSW)

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I am hoping this post will open up debate and give people food for thought.

The current Futsal structure in NSW appears to be unsustainable, lacking in imagination and marketing.

It is sad to see clubs such as Quake playing out of Windsor and Sydney City Eagles playing out of Penrith, both clubs are foundation clubs that have been moved from their supporter base by a rule that has been a resounding failure.

Volunteers, players, referees and supporters doing a 128 km round trip to Windsor every second week wears very thin very quickly and we risk losing these people to the game.

I do applaud the sentiment and concept behind it but we have tried it and it hasn’t worked.

In order to market our sport we need the opportunity to promote it to the broader community, currently we preach to the converted. We all know how entertaining our game is, it is others who need to be exposed to it.

What is needed is a bold change to what is current thinking and this needs to happen now in order to plan for the 2013-2014 season.

I believe we should go to 3 divisions of eight with a one up one down policy, the third division should they only have six clubs then those six clubs will battle to come up to the second division. I believe we will generate more clubs rather than less.

The first two divisions must contain no more and no less than eight teams.

Any new clubs that which to participate must come in via the third division.

All Division One ( Premier/ Elite 1) Mens teams compete either on a Friday night or Sunday (day or night) with four teams at one 40 x 20 international venue and the remaining four teams at the other venue. This will increase marketing opportunities for the sport, for example James Brackenridge may film the events and post them to TVS in the first instance and potentially SBS or Fox.

Some Sundays all eight Premier Mens teams may play at one venue aka F league concept.

This concept will free up Premier Mens players to coach their club teams on a Saturday.

All club teams will remain at their home court irrespective of court size, facilities of course should meet a certain criteria.

All academy teams should be encouraged to play on a smaller court i.e. basketball to encourage playing in a smaller space and getting more touches on the ball in line with FFA criteria.

Finally I believe the council of clubs should be re invigorated in order to get these ideas and concepts passed through Football NSW who indeed welcome ideas and changes.

At the end of the day Futsal people need to guide Futsal into a place where we all know it should be.

It is now time to be thinking outside of the square, let us all be part of a sustainable future.

Comments and thoughts are welcomed.

-Glenn Lockhart

Comments 9

  1. Gareth Naar

    Glenn, your ideas are spot on and so many of us in the futsal community share this sentiment.

    One thing I would add is that clubs should not be dictated by junior results but rewarded for success at the senior level, and emphasis on jnr development.

    This would mean splitting junior and senior competition, but making sure those senior clubs in elite competition have correct structure and development programs in place.

    Where your Seniors play on a Friday or Sunday. Juniors should also play multiple fixtures at one venue on a Saturday to ensure a larger community feel is present.

    Each senior club under a new criteria should be in charge of futsal development in an area where local competitions are part of its development program, which will broaden the marketing of the sport and the sports exposure.

    The last things which are needed is coaching development and education and more support from football clubs driven by FNSW. The former I believe is being worked on at state level while the latter Is a much harder task.

    I applaud you for having your word and encourage all to continue on this discussion where hopefully no one is judged on there opinion.

    The next step is how to bring the ideas together and move forward as one with a common goal?

  2. Gareth Naar

    Glenn.

    Your words are spot on and we all known so many of us share these ideas. The question is how do we collectively come together in an open forum where ideas are heard, and goals are put in place, and and a plan is put together based on delivering those goals? All with the support FNSW.

    To further your ideas I would like to add some further suggestions:

    Senior and Junior competitions should be separate, making sure a clubs success is driven by its senior teams, and not its juniors. Current PL/SL competition structure has juniors bringing in 18 points to club while seniors only bring 9 points. This in my opinion is skewed and outs too much emphasis on junior teams success rather than development and learning of the sport at a younger age.

    Either split junior and senior competition or have a sliding scale where more points in club championships are awarded to senior teams.

    In order for teams to qualify to play in elite competitions proper club structure should be part of the criteria, with an emphasis on development programs including local competitions. This would ensure that clubs who are serious about the sport strive to promote the sport in there broader community and there fore give exposure to the sport through broader community channels.

    Greater education for coaches. I believe FNSW are currently working on this in conjunction with FFA. In NZ they have approximately 20 development offices funded by NZF spread through out the country making sure futsal is being taught to a standard curriculum in all areas. I a great model that could be adopted here at state and/or national level. Let’s hope this happens soon.

    Greater acceptance from football community. This is an education that needs to be shared with football clubs and will take time. In speaking to outdoor coaches and administrators there is a false stigma around futsal as they don’t understand the game this education also needs to come from state and national level (I believe national is best).

    These three areas are just the tip of the iceberg, I could carry on about pathways, broadcasting, further marketing, creating hero’s and funding for clubs and so much more, but then I would rant for too long.

    I applaud you Glenn for opening the discussion and encourage all to take part without judgement of others opinions, just acceptance that there are so many out there who want better, share common ideas and only want success in this tremendous sport.

    The challenge is – how do we take this from discussion, to joint planning with support of FNSW and into a forum where we can move to a decide in a common goal and a long term plan to deliver these goals.

  3. Phil Dolton

    Your suggestions have merit. Are you proposing to split just the Open Mens games away from the rest to play on the Friday/Sunday using full size courts or all the senior age groups ie O/Men, O/Women & Youth. To me differing court sizes (within reason) are all part of the home ground advantage aspect. I think we have narrowed the range down a bit too far and it is now having the opposite effect to what we were trying to do.

    I would suggest all the “seniors” are your elite show comps not just the open men, and the juniors play, as you say, on smaller courts as they are more “elite development” comps. I’d also like to see the Youth comp re-badged as “Reserve Grade Mens” with scope to play a limited number of over aged players. This would allow players coming back from injury a opportunity to come back in through the reserves AND an avenue for our experienced players nearing the end of their careers an opportunity to drop back and act as mentors in the develop the younger players coming through. I’m certain the younger players would benefit both technically and personally from having the opportunity to play alongside the likes Simmo, Spath, Lachlan etc in game situations.

    As Glenn said – lets get some constructive discussions going so we can take these ideas to the people that matter.

  4. IamJack

    I agree with the Academy to be playing on basketball courts and think it could be taken one step further, for u14s and down they should also be playing on basketball courts and not contributing towards club championship points.
    Having the 14s and down play on basketball courts allows for them to have far more touches on the ball and allow them to develop more individually. If you take away the pressure of performing for club championship points it also allows a greater freedom to develop their technical skills and move away from long ball games.

    There definitely needs to be an overhaul of the competition structure, division wise and having 3 leagues all with home and away rounds is a good idea.
    I also agree with Phil’s idea for the seniors, making the youth more akin to the u20’s sides of outdoor with a quota for overage players and also adding in such an age group for the girls.

    The most crucial thing that I think should come out of this though is age appropriate court sizes, at the very least the under 12s and academy shouldn’t be on the full international size court.

  5. jack14

    At the end of the day, what does futsal offer the broader community, the answer is not much interest I say, similar to a squash game fantastic for the players involved but terrible to watch. Futsal you have a game whose only interest comes from those selected and parents & maybe relatives. The competition cannot be called elite as the players are still paying FNSW.

    I once said to an organiser at a Premier league club, why can we not attract the better players and I was told well where do our players play. I rest my case.

    Unfortunately we play futsal and outdoor football in an environment where less gifted players make teams that don’t make school teams thus houston we have a problem.

    The solution is a true elite competition supported by a second tier, third tier sounds awesome, with promotion and relagation endorsed by government sponsorship with an aim to produce a product enjoyed by a paying general public.

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