The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has announced a new Futsal Club Competition to be part of the AIFF competition calendar from the 2020 season. The executive committee of the national football board passed the mandate unanimously in a meeting in New Delhi on 10 December.
“As part of AIFF’s holistic plan to develop Indian football and involve all sections into the playing community. We look forward to Futsal bringing in a significant change in the demographics of Indian Football. From that aspect, the Futsal Championship will surely add more value,” General Sectary of AIFF, Kushal Das said.
Must Read | What is Futsal? Is it same as Football? Here’s all you need to know the AIFF did not recognise the tournament
Das added that the format will attract youth both boys and girls and help enhance their skills in the game. AIFF Techincal Director Isac Doru also complimented this decision. He adds: “It is played at a fast pace, demands fast thought process. We at AIFF strongly feel Futsal should be a part of the National Planning Agenda of football.”
Futsal in India
Futsal fever has slowly increased in India with several turfs and natural grounds among options for the youth. However, Futsal is just not for youth. Recent times have seen an increase in working professionals playing the game. As a result, it has lead to the creation of number corporate tournaments.
In 2016, India saw the birth of Premier Futsal or the Asian Premier Futsal Championship. Indian entrepreneurs started the multinational franchise-based futsal tournament under the entity of Premier Futsal Management Pvt Ltd. It should be noted that the tournament was not recognised by the AIFF.
The league featured the best Futsal player of the world- Falcao and various marquee players like Paul Scholes, Ronaldhino, Cafu, Michel Salgado, Herman Crespo and Ryan Giggs. Furthermore, Virat Kohli was appointed as the brand ambassador and an anthem- Naam Hai Futsal was tuned by AR Rahman to popularise the league. However, administrative trouble ran the league defunct.
Since then the AIFF took it upon themself to start a futsal tournament and announced the launching of India’s first-ever Futsal Cup in February. 8 states, namely, Kerala, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Goa, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir and Karnataka would be forming their own futsal competitions while also performing in the Futsal Cup.
With a new league on its way into the Indian Footballing calendar, we will have to see if the recognition it gets from AIFF will help it attract the popularity it needs to be sustainable.