Indian futsal body signs agreement with US counterpart

As per the "mutual agreement", FAI would receive technical support from USFF which is affiliated to the United States Soccer (Federation).

Futsal Association of India president Namdeo Shirgaonkar with USFF president and CEO Alexander J C Para.   -  Handout

Ahead of the proposed Premier Futsal League announced here earlier this month, the Futsal Association of India (FAI) has entered into a strategic tie-up with its US counterpart, the United States Futsal Federation (USFF).

The announcement about the partnership was made jointly at a press meet held by FAI’s founder-president Namdeo Shirgaonkar, who is also a vice-president of the independent world futsal body AMF, and USFF’s president and CEO Alexander J C Para who is a former member of world football governing body, FIFA’s futsal committee.

As per the “mutual agreement”, FAI would receive technical support from USFF which is affiliated to the United States Soccer (Federation).

FAI, had earlier this month, tied up with Premier Futsal, floated by some Indian entrepreneurs with Portugal football legend Luis Figo as president, which has launched the first-ever multi-national futsal league set to be held from July 15-24 and featuring eight city franchises.

“We met in Paraguay one month ago and decided to forge a tie for the improvement of Indian futsal,” said Shirgaonkar.

According to Shirgaonkar, there were 20,000 futsal (five-a-side football played in a much smaller arena with different rules as compared to association football) players currently registered via 20 state associations to FAI.

The proposed futsal league, however, has run into rough weather with a missive fired by FIFA to the All India Football Federation that it was illegal and unauthorised.

Para, however, sought to downplay the threat issued by FIFA and asked “Can you tell me who in FIFA has sent it (missive),” when reporters questioned him on the issue.

Para “has guided USFF to national stature including its integration into the United States Soccer Federation in 1989 and re-integration in 2012 after an absence of five years,” according to information cited on the US Futsal Federation’s website.

Shirgaonkar further said, “AMF (which is a parallel body to FIFA in controlling futsal) is taking steps to include futsal into the Olympic Games and as a first step would approach the International Olympic Committee for its inclusion in the Youth Olympics.”