Bilal Ali caught up with the new Head of Futsal at Football Victoria, Anthony Grima, to find

out what his plans are for the future of futsal in Victoria.

1. What are your short to medium-term plans for Victorian futsal? Can the Victorian futsal

community expect to see a recognised league similar to the F-League but with sides from

across Victoria?

In the first instance, the strategy is to inspire futsal participation and formalise the pathway

for players, coaches, referees, clubs, centres and schools by designing an events and

competitions calendar that meets the needs and aspirations of the futsal community.

We need to make sure referees and coaches are formally accredited and provided with the

correct education and development to ensure positive and consistent futsal experiences for

both them and players across Victoria.

We need to get the futsal competition providers and clubs together on the same page and

provide them with the leadership they need and a genuine value proposition to partner with

Football Victoria via a revamped affiliation and support program that will enable us to grow

and develop futsal together as a unified futsal community. A lot of these centres have been

hit hard by the restrictions placed on them due to COVID-19 and many haven’t been open

and thus have not seen their players for over nine months, so they need our support.

At the same time, we will need to work with all levels of government to identify solutions

for increased and improved facilities for futsal so that our affiliated competition providers

and clubs can continue to take on new players and that as a state we can have the ability to

showcase and host major futsal events in this great state of ours.

As you can see, it is a big job ahead of us but it is one that we are fully committed to.

2. With your background in marketing and communications, you can appreciate the

importance of any new competitions having the appropriate social media platform, is

there any plan to broadcast games, either live or through highlight packages? Live

streaming games has done wonders for the NPL, could it have a similar impact with futsal

in Victoria?

Any initiative that gets more eye balls on our sport should always be welcomed. There are

many learnings from the NPL, particularly how the state premier leagues were able to

embrace a one brand concept which has now made promoting the sport much easier and

more attractive to new fans and new commercial partners. Personally, I’d love to see a

similar model for the premier futsal league in each state and territory to come together

under the F-League banner.

We should also take some positives from dealing with COVID-19, where we have seen many

examples of innovative live-streaming technology given the restrictions on spectators at

venues. I look forward to investigating further options for our futsal competitions and

events just as we have done for the NPL.

3. Football Victoria and the FFA have had recognised futsal competitions in the past, but

they were never made a priority, much to the frustration of the futsal community; how do

you plan on changing that in your new role as the Head of Futsal for Football Victoria?

In the first instance, the fact that we have now identified futsal’s role within Football

Victoria’s existing Strategic Plan 2019-2022 ‘FootbALLways’ gets the ball rolling. We have a

strategy and direction that can be operationalised. Everything we do at Football Victoria and

the way we are structured is based on fulfilling our obligations to ‘FootbALLways’ and my

new role as Head of Futsal demonstrates our commitment.

Secondly, at the national level, in Principle IV of Football Australia’s recently released XI

Principles – for the future of Australian football, calls for the establishment of a national

agenda for futsal and beach soccer and to investigate the creation of new products to grow

the game.

Through this and regular dialogue about futsal with my Member Federation counterparts

and Football Australia under CEO James Johnson, I am personally encouraged about this

renewed focus on futsal.

I know what we will do here in Victoria can inspire not just the other states but our national

body as well to bring futsal back to life at all levels and ensure that together the outcomes

for the sport can be beyond what we ever imagined. Personally, I also look forward to

advocating for this great sport on many levels. It’s a game that I was born into from six years-old

and it is a sport that has allowed me to meet many great people and given me

many wonderful experiences over the years; I simply want that for others.

4. Futsal in Victoria has not had a central home recognised by FIFA for several years, in

that time the highest level of futsal recognised in the futsal community has become Series

Futsal Victoria; do you plan on integrating any SFV clubs in any new FV Futsal

competitions?

We encourage all existing and new futsal clubs as well as futsal centres to affiliate with

Football Victoria.

From a Series Futsal perspective, we see some fantastic clubs and teams that make up that

competition and of course it would be great for these players (male and female), as well as

those in other leagues and competitions across the state to have the opportunity to

represent Victoria or the national team. I’ve spoken to Futsal Oz and Series Futsal CEO Peter

Parthimos many times over the years and like others, his input and support has been

invaluable in assisting us in setting up this new framework for affiliated futsal clubs and

centres.

Personally, long term I’d love to see the game nationally set up a pathway and setup certain

windows in the futsal calendar where futsal clubs can participate in their local

leagues/competitions during one period and then go on to qualify or represent their centre

or club in the FV events/leagues in another period. It’s all part of re-establishing the futsal

pathway for not just players, but coaches and referees as well. Ideas like this require

consultation and of course buy-in from competition providers and the community and I look

forward to discussing these ideas over the coming weeks when we conduct our first

information sessions next month. Whatever we decide here in Victoria would ultimately

also align with the future national agenda for futsal designed by Football Australia and the

member federations when the time comes.

There are exciting times ahead!

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