Baltic Futsal Marketing company demands the football and futsal management in Estonia not only to read this article, but also to make it their must-read. This is the message from Javier Lozano, the greatest futsal coach, manager and strategist, multiple world and European champion with the Spanish national team, to the English futsal community of the Liga Nacional de Futbol Sala (LNFS).

LNFS England published an article featuring the President of the Liga Nacional de Futbol Sala (LNFS), Javier Lozano, who welcomed the English futsal community into the LNFS family with a video message. LNFS England clubs don’t make up the whole of the English futsal community, but what he means is, the clubs involved and any club who wants to learn from their experience.

In the video, Javier outlines how the LNFS intends to assist LNFS England and its clubs to develop the sport of futsal from the grassroots up. However, in Futsal Focus’ view, the most important point he made in the video is the following:

“Go little by little, and focus your efforts on the most urgent goals, and carefully develop an action plan. Nothing changes in 10 minutes and bear in mind that it took us over 32 years to get to where we are now!”

With Javier’s message in mind, Futsal Focus engages with world futsal, and in developing Futsal nations we are regularly asked by leagues and clubs ‘how do we get to the level of Spain?’ Many of these people want to achieve this goal in 5 years or 10 years, and at times they become frustrated when our reply is ‘That goal is not realistic, unless you have wealthy investors ready to launch a franchise league and have the money to develop a market.’ Many of these nations don’t even have a recreational market yet or a high level of amateur delivery of the sport across the board.

The league and club development steps are the following:

  • Amateurism
  • Professional amateurism
  • Semi-professional
  • Professional

Each of these stages develop due to a growing market, and the collective development of the leagues and clubs so they rise together into each level. At each level clubs and leagues will start to know where they are in their development and where they want to stay.

Now for those wondering what is the difference between each level, here is a brief synopsis to give you a basic understanding:

  • Amateurism is when you have numerous competitions happening all year round from recreational fun to competitiveness, and a growing appreciation for the sport nationwide. This level would be a mix of clubs and teams, and to keep a competitive balance, no players or coaches are paid. Clubs are run by volunteers and the focus is on embedding your club in your community. Alongside developing coaches and players, developing an academy, reaching out to schools, Universities, community groups and engaging with as many people as possible to enjoy the game.
  • Professional amateurism is when clubs and leagues start to make large sums of money from the sport, but still no one gets paid. All the money generated goes into developing the league and clubs, and your community through outreach programmes to engage with them and continue the process of embedding your club in your community. You would also use the money to continue the development of your coaches and players, and to take part in foreign competitions or visiting foreign top clubs through trips to view their training or train with their coaches. Clubs would start to develop their own club house and build their own facilities for their  and community use but still the majority of their staff are volunteers, and coaches/ players are still not paid. Relationships have been built with local community, councils, sponsors, funding programmes and with the money you have raised you have built a history of programme delivery and trust . Once achieved, this is when you can start to approach wealthy investors to invest in your club as the clubs at this stage should be attracting regular fans between 250 and 500 each week as well.
  • Semi-professionalism is when the clubs are attracting regular fans from 500 to 1000 or slight more. You have your own facilities, sponsors and investors, money is also being received from TV revenue. Players and coaches start to make a living from the sport but still have a full-time job as well. Your club house staff and facility management start to be paid and the number of volunteers are reduced into paid workers but still at your academy staff and community outreach staff are volunteers. An example of this in the U.K is the NIFL Premiership, known as the Danske Bank Premiership in Northern Ireland.
  • Professionalism is when everyone involved with the club earns a living solely from the sport and the club is attracting 2,000 or more fans regularly and is making money from tv revenue, sponsors, online marketing, product sales, ticket sales etc.

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