Save Futsal in England
Save Futsal in England
We seek to petition Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport to direct Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive Officer of Sport England to investigate and review the governance across The Football Association that contributed to the choice they have made to all but eliminate funding of their futsal programs, including the cessation of England national futsal teams and player development pathways for young boys & girls engaged with futsal.
A £1m budget has been reduced to circa £50,000 which appears wholly misguided considering futsal has benefitted in the past 12 months from a multi-million-pound sponsorship investment from Pokemon for youth futsal, the first of its kind in England. The budget and program cuts will have a devastating impact upon tens of thousands or young people across England where futsal cuts across every pathway for male, female, BAME and disability in some form.
The petitioners recognise that the COVID situation has significant financial impacts on national governing bodies, and The FA is no exception, but any reasoning behind the decisions of what to fund, and what not to, is disproportionately imbalanced when considering where funding has been far less drastically impacted. There is certainly a sense of specific programs being protected by those who sit amongst The FA’s senior executive.
Futsal is recognised by tens of thousands of Participants across England in various engagement as a game in its own right with an aspirational elite pathway attracting many to activity through futsal, whilst also demonstrating benefits to the wider football family as a player development tool - seemingly except by senior management at The FA.
The confirmed cuts will deactivate and de-incentivise tens of thousands of males and females from their physical activity of choice and impact their potential long-term engagement in sport which would negatively affect the health of the nation. The mental health of those Players, Coaches and volunteers who have committed many years to self-develop through guided learning and grow the game will have a severe mental health impact across the game. The petitioners conclude no logical rationale for the severity and extent of the cuts to futsal programs when considering the relatively miniscule investment of FA budget in futsal by comparison to women’s or disability as an example.
The petitioners understand that Sport England’s funding to The FA includes a constituent element based upon FA assertions of investment in futsal and here with the funding reduction imposed by the FA question how much of the SE allocation is being spent elsewhere.
Given Sport England’s recognised small-sided football universe of circa 13.1m Participants, futsal plays an increasing role in both affiliated and unaffiliated participation, contributing significantly more than any other form of football to an active nation. The unintended consequences of program cuts will place a higher societal burden in years to come.
The petitioners hereby seek public support for Sport England, as a core FA funding partner to open an enquiry to hold The FA accountable for its actions and thoroughly investigate the evidence used to determine these cuts, the appropriateness, fairness and equality of these funding choices which substantially disadvantage many, including those across England from low social and economic groups.
The FA is supposedly For ALL – including futsal.