FIFA Forward's support for futsal reflected in EURO 2022

  • UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 kicks off today in the Netherlands

  • Hosts prepared on pitch funded by Forward Programme

  • Another finalist, Slovenia, also investing in future with help of FIFA

Thirty-one years after hosting the first FIFA Futsal World Cup back in 1991, the Netherlands will once take centre stage in the discipline when the UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 final tournament kicks off there on Wednesday 19 January. The host nation’s quest for the European title has been aided by FIFA and its FIFA Forward 2.0 Development Programme, which provided complete funding for the futsal pitch on which the the Dutch team have been preparing in recent months. The project comprised the installation of a new playing surface on the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) pitch at its Zeist campus and had a total cost of USD 166,000. The work, which began in August 2021 and finished in October, is part of a broader and more ambitious plan on the part of the KNVB, which aims to professionalize futsal.

Given the aforementioned goal, the KNVB is hoping that a good performance at the EURO will give the discipline greater prominence in the country. It is worth remembering that the Dutch last graced the final phase of this competition in 2014, and share Group A with Ukraine, Serbia and defending European and world champions Portugal. The new surface is identical to that of the two courts that will be used for the tournament’s 32 games and will serve as a training ground for the 16 participating teams. The final will be played on 6 February at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 18: General view inside the Ziggo Dome on January 18, 2022 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Oliver Hardt - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

The present and future of Slovenian futsal

For Slovenia, EURO 2022 will be the country’s sixth appearance at the continental finals and their fifth in a row. Its Football Association (NZS) has been investing in futsal development for some time as part of a wider strategy encompassing the promotion of youth and women's football. With the help of FIFA Forward 2.0, the NZS was able to fully fund of the costs of match officials – referees, delegates and referee observers – for various tournaments.

NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 30: A detailed view of the card of Slovenia ahead of the UEFA European Under-19 Futsal Championship 2022 Preliminary and Main Rounds Draws at the UEFA headquarters, The House of European Football on August 30, 2021, in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Valentin Flauraud - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

The aim is to reduce the financial burden for clubs and enable them to invest more in the development of their teams. The scheme encompasses those competing at U-13, U-15, U-17 and U-19 level in the National Futsal Championships during the 2021/22 season. Thus, for the current season, FIFA's futsal-related contribution to Slovenia is around USD 85,000. This is the fourth time this project has been funded through FIFA Forward, bringing the total amount to USD 962,492 when contributions to youth and women's football are also taken into account.