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Everything you need to know about Futsal

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Sports in India is never shy of controversy. So it was only naive on our part if we expected the Premier futsal league to be free of one. As things stand the T20 version of Football will be kicking off in Chennai on 15th June and will feature some of the best futsal talents and if that was less they have some of the greatest legends of the game as well. In a way it is the IPL version of football which fans in India had waited for and it surely taking a step ahead of ISL.

Here we present to you all the things you need to know about this super exciting event.

What is Futsal and how is it different from Football?

Futsal is a variant of football played for a total of 40 minutes on a smaller field and mainly indoors. It is played between two teams of five players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper. Unlimited substitutions are permitted. Unlike some other forms of indoor football, the game is played on a hard court surface delimited by lines; walls or boards are not used. Futsal is also played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football due to the surface of the field. The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces very different from the traditional strength, stamina and strategy that is required in football.

What is Premier Futsal League?

It is a first of its kind franchise-based league which will take place across Goa and Chennai featuring teams from 6 cities in India from July 15th to July 24th 2016 and it hopes that this will revolutionize how the sport is played and consumed globally.

This has been altered from the initial idea of having 8 cities and playing the competition across India. Notably Delhi and Hyderabad have missed the cut.

As per the initial model of Premier Futsal, it plans to bring together 56 of the best current Futsal players from across the world in a competitive format. The pioneering model will see each playing team consisting of three international Futsal players, one international marquee football player and one Indian Futsal player. Each squad size will be of twelve players.

Premier Futsal, in association with FAI (Futsal Association of India), launched a talent hunt programme across eight cities to scout and select Indian players. The programme has reached its conclusion with a total of 30 players representing the 6 franchises instead of 40 as per the original plan.

The Controversy?

The problem lies with the fact that internationally Futsal has two governing bodies running parallel to each other one is FIFA which is the principal governing body of football World over and the other is the AMF (Asociación Mundial de Futsal) which is the successor to the original governing body which started with futsal. The two bodies have not been able to reach a solution on governing of the sport and both organize tournaments separately.

The Premier Futsal is governed by FAI (Futsal Association of India) which is backed by AMF but given that football in India is headed by AIFF (All India Football Federation) which derives its recognition from FIFA, it has gone ahead and declared that the tournament is unofficial and unauthorized to which the organizers of Premier Futsal have hit back saying that the AIFF is spreading rumors and its is within the legal rights to conduct this league.

However, with AIFF coming strongly against it by asking its constituent federations to not be associated with the league in any form, as well as the threat of suspension of players who take part in this league has surely cast doubt on the future of the tournament. The AIFF has not even spared Virat Kohli the brand ambassador of league and have asked him to choose between futsal and ISL as he co-owns Goa FC in ISL which is an AIFF affiliate.

Why is there in Futsal for Spectators?

If the idea of fast flowing football was less the franchises have signed a host of marquee players who will grace the Indian soil for the first time. Its like a dream come true for any Indian football fan to see these legends play live.

The Chennai 5’s have signed “the Pele of Futsal” Alessandro Rosa Vieira also known as Falcao, Mumbai 5’s have brought the Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs into the mix, the Kolkata team have  Argentinian striker Hernan Crespo with over 300 goals as their main man, Goa have Brazilian maestro Ronaldinho the name is enough, Bengaluru have signed another Manchester United Legend Paul Scholes, the battle between Giggs and Scholes two former playing mates is sure going to be something which fans world over will be looking forward to and lastly Kochi have the service of former Real Madrid Galactico Spanish Defender Michael Salgado.

Add to that the local bred talent and other international players is sure going to be a delight for any football/futsal fan. Add to that there is an anthem composed by A.R. Rehman featuring Virat Kohli and The Portuguese Legend Figo is the President of the league.

The Schedule

So mark the dates the tournament is going to be played from 15th to the 24th of July in Goa and Chennai with teams divided into two groups Chennai, Mumbai and Kochi forming Group A with Goa, Kolkata and Bangalore forming Group B. The top two teams in each group will progress to the knockout phases.The matches will be broadcast-ed on the Sony ESPN with two matches played in a day kicking off from 6.30 PM.

15th July, 2016 – Chennai vs Mumbai, Goa vs Kolkata

16th July, 2016 – Mumbai vs Kochi, Kolkata vs Bangalore

17th July, 2016 – Kochi vs Chennai, Bangalore vs Goa

18th July, 2016 – Rest/Travel

19th July, 2016 – Kolkata vs Goa, Mumbai vs Chennai

20th July, 2016 – Bangalore vs Kolkata, Kochi vs Mumbai

21st July, 2016 – Goa vs Bangalore, Chennai vs Kochi

22nd July, 2016 – Rest/Travel

23rd July, 2016 – Group A Winner vs Group B Runner-up, Group A Runner-up vs Group B

24th July, 2016 – Closing Ceremony, Final