Football Victoria (FV) Head of Futsal Anthony Grima believes Victoria is the perfect place to host an edition of Football Australia’s National Futsal Championships in the coming years.
Speaking with Soccerscene, Grima, who was recently appointed Head of Futsal at FV, explained the hosting of significant futsal events was desirable in the wake of the governing body’s plans to revamp the small-sided game in the state.
“Personally, I would love to see us showcase major futsal events in this great state of ours, such as the Football Australia National Futsal Championships,” he said.
The 2021 Football Australia National Futsal Championships were cancelled due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with state federations still waiting for confirmation of its return in 2022.
Hosting rights to future Futsalroos matches, when reinstated, are among the notable futsal events that are also being targeted by the governing body to assist the rejuvination of the local tourism industry.
FV recently outlined their ambitions to unite the futsal community, by providing the sport with an increase in investment into resources needed to appropriately govern futsal in Victoria.
The state federation’s direction of the sport will be underpinned by the following strategic priorities:
- Formally recognise the sport of futsal within Football Victoria’s existing Strategic Plan 2019-2022 ‘FootbALLways’ to facilitate its growth, including in schools and to foster the increase and development of players, coaches, referees, futsal clubs and Futsal centres in the broader futsal pathway.
- Provide futsal competition providers and futsal clubs with a genuine value proposition to partner with Football Victoria via a revamped affiliation and support program to grow and develop futsal together as a unified futsal community.
- Integrate futsal within the implementation of Football Victoria’s current Facilities Strategy and advocate for increased and improved futsal facilities with local, state and federal government for the benefit of all futsal competition providers and futsal clubs across Victoria.
According to Grima, the final priority listed, centred around the importance of facilities for futsal, highlighted the need for all factions of the small-sided game to be on the same page.
“Ultimately, if we don’t work together, it’s the participants who suffer,” he said.
“Our main priority is to ensure that there are facilities for the players that are involved at a community level, but we do have some works in the pipeline that we’d love to see, such as a home of futsal in Victoria.
“There’s 40,000 players who play all across Victoria and a lot of those venues are not affiliated to Football Victoria at the moment, but we intend to speak to every single operator, every futsal club and even the indoor centre operators. I think it’s important that we all come under the banner and we support them as much as possible in a mutually beneficial system.”
Grima has been in constant dialogue with many futsal operators such as CEO of Futsal Oz Peter Parthimos, who had to endure a long stretch of inactivity at his centres due to the Victorian COVID-19 lockdown.
“Peter Parthimos has been one I’ve been speaking to regularly. I’ve known Peter across futsal circles for many, many, years.
“We are not here to compete with the providers, we are here to unite them, govern and lead them. They need direction, they need help, they need support. A lot of them have not seen their players for at least nine months, because the centres weren’t open.
“It’s really important to note, we should’ve been there providing them guidelines and support. That happened with the outdoor clubs, they got those guidelines whenever the state government released information (during lockdown), so I really felt for the futsal operators.
“So, we are here to reinvigorate them and also inspire the other states to learn from us and see how we can do things properly. We want to bring them on our journey, so when the national agenda is set up by Football Australia, everybody has been consulted and engaged properly and they know it is coming and they can be part of it.”
A strong emphasis on pathways for players, coaches, referees has also been put forward by FV, through the delivery of upcoming elite competitions such as the F-League (Victoria) and the FV State Futsal Championships.
Alongside this, both futsal referee and coach education courses will officially accredit and upskill referees and coaches from this month.
Grima, an experienced futsal and football administrator, is well placed to lead the sport into the future.
“My own experience in futsal has shown me that it is a sport with enormous appeal and potential,” he stated.
“As you can see, it is a big job ahead of us, but it is one that we are fully committed to.”