Few sports currently excluded from the Summer Olympics are as ready – or deserving – as futsal. The addition of Futsal to the Olympics would not only bring excitement to the games through the entertainment factor, but also create further opportunities for players to develop.
On a commercial level, the sport would bring more viewers than plenty of other events at the games. Futsal is fast-paced, dynamic, and exciting, with World Cups and large tournaments being well attended in the past. The sport has a storied history with stars like Falcao and Ricardinho.
If you look at the newest sport added to the Olympics, they have neither the history, support, or top-level athletes that futsal has built.
We’ve already seen 3v3 basketball added to the Olympics, and the small-sided version of football has a far bigger base to build off. The idea that ‘streetball’ should be a featured Olympic sport -despite having no real competitions or stars – over a sport with the history of futsal is a bizarre choice.
Sports like Baseball have merit for their inclusion, however they are only played in a select few countries. Futsal, like football, is a truly global sport. When competitions like skateboarding, BMX freestyle, and sport climbing are elevated to the games, they lack the ready-made stars and players ready to step up to one of the most-watched sporting events in the world.
The 2022 Youth Olympics in Senegal will feature futsal, after the 2018 games in Buenos Aires featured it for the first time. In Senegal, there will also be the first-ever Women’s futsal tournament ran by FIFA. In Buenos Aires over 100,000 spectators watched both the first iteration of the Junior Men and Women’s futsal tournament.
Another strong argument for the sports inclusion at the Summer Olympics is that it’s already played at the Special Olympics. With this groundwork already planned, surely the next step for the Olympic committee is to bring Futsal to the Olympics proper.
Futsal already has a World Cup, but the opportunity for further competition at the Olympics games would help take the sport to new heights. The addition of Futsal would be a huge moment for the sport, which has often lived in the shadow of the eleven aside game. The game deserves its spotlight, however, this isn’t to say football wouldn’t benefit from its inclusion.
One of our most technically gifted players – Tom Rogic – was a former Futsalroo, and the opportunity to expand the national teams with guaranteed competition would be an excellent opportunity to develop the technical ability that futsal provides. If Australian football can tap into the potential Futsal brings, it was be a benefit to the game in Australia.
The influence Futsal can have on a player’s technical skills are quite clear. It creates the opportunity for plenty of time on the ball and helps develop close control that many Australian players have lacked in the past.
With futsal in the Olympics, It would create a more consistent cycle for our national teams to play in. Instead of potentially two tournaments every four years – the Asian Cup and the World Cup – We’d now have three international competitions for the Futsalroos to aim for. This could also lead to the contribution of Federal Government funding, something futsal has sorely lacked in its history in Australia.
The professionalisation of futsal in Australia would be a huge boon to a community that has been growing for years, while also giving advantages to the development of future stars for the Socceroos and Matildas.
Some of the greatest players ever to grace the football field have contributed their success to the sport of Futsal. With Futsal being included in the Junior Olympics, the path to full inclusion is being paved.
With the support of countries and FIFA, the dream of the sport being celebrated among the Olympic pantheon can become a reality.
You can sign the petition at change.org for Futsal to become an Olympic sport.