Bojan Pavicevic: Futsal will be at the Olympics!

Baltic Futsal Marketing company follows world events including the press reports by important sports persons. Director of Futsal at the Serbian Football Federation,  Bojan Pavicevic is a kid of the Belgrade tarmac, fan of futsal and one of the most outstanding Serbian players in history. He is a man, in whose veins flows not only immense sincere love, but also an exuberant passion for this magical game. He played in the Champions League, won the national title, played 72 matches for the national team, scored 20 goals, was the Captain of Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro national teams. He participated in the finals of the European championships and the World Cup-2012 in Thailand. 

Bojan, you were one of the greatest on the futsal court. They say you could have been an excellent player on a big field. 

I had the potential, and I could really become a football-player, but I just liked futsal. I was one of those who played it during both short and long vacations, outside with two-brick gates, day and night. Now I know that there is no real football and football-players without such a school. Brazilians and Argentines still do it today. 

The same picture used to be seen in Serbia. Today everything is different.

I have no explanations as to why it looks like this now. Boys who are taken by their parents to training and picked up from there by car can hardly become serious players.  Now they spend little time for training. We played football all day long – both on the street, at school, and only then went to training. Playing on a small court our technique, passing speed and thinking developed. Whoever made it through football school on the street got into “Crvena Zvezda” or “Partizan”.

In general, what’s the reason that futsal, despite a great number of people playing it, isn’t included in the category of the most popular sports in today’s market.

Futsal is still not included in the Olympic program. Although few sports have as much popularity as futsal. When I say this I mean rivalry and popularity. Futsal is practiced all over the world; it is played by millions of people which cannot be said about almost 80 percent of sports from the Olympic program. There is no country that doesn’t play futsal, which doesn’t have a futsal league, or even two or three ones. We have a hundred clubs which play officially. For some other sports that number is a dream. 

Basketball 3*3 has become an Olympic sport; don’t FIFA and UEFA have the necessary influence to include Futsal in the Olympic program?

The fact that futsal is under the auspices of UEFA, is not only its plus but also its minus. The representative of UEFA in the Olympic Games is football. Previously there were high-quality and attractive competitions. But it hasn’t been that way for a long time, because the best soccer- players don’t come to the Olympics.  Therefore UEFA has a desire to replace football at the Olympic Games with futsal.  There were negotiations to make futsal a discipline at the Winter Olympics. In the program of the Youth Olympic Games, recently held in Buenos Aires, futsal was represented in the under- 19 category.  So the roadmap is already there. And when futsal becomes an Olympic sport it will enter an orbit attractive for investment.

Besides Brazil, Spain and Russia there are several small countries that are superpowers in futsal. How is that possible?

They have lots of money and can buy whoever they want. Some Brazilians play for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan, so they are at the top of world futsal. The Romanians also have three Brazilians, the Russians have four, and the Italians have as many as ten. This is a disaster, I don’t support such things. We are a team that opposes it, because there is no sense in it.

What is your philosophy?

My philosophy is based on a system. When I came, a plan was drawn up for 8 years. It was a plan with clear goals.  One short-term plan for four years and one long-term plan for eight years. Initially we planned to get to the next European Championship.  And we did it. The next task was to qualify for the World Cup. And we succeeded – we got to the championship which will be played next year instead. 

What is the next step?

It’s a medal in both major competitions. As you can see, everything is simple. I have no doubt we’ll succeed, I have no right for failure. I told that to our players as well. There was a generation change, some great players have left. We had to change in order to make a step forward.

There was a very experienced national team in Serbia, now it is one of the youngest in Europe.

Definitely, it’s the youngest national team in Europe. The youngest and undoubtedly the fastest, such a team has never been in Serbia. We always had a problem with the lack of fast players. Now we selected the team so that we have eight or nine superfast players out of fourteen in the entry form for a match. 

You are a supporter of the view that nothing is accidental. 

Quite right. Everybody knows we are a serious force. If we were not, we would not be in the top five European teams out of 50 to play at the World Cup. We had to go through one group, then another, and only Spain, a multiple World and European champion,  beat us once in qualifying match. In the end we defeated the Finns in the decisive match. We have clear rules, we know when the national team players may use the phone, and when they may not, all the hotels, where we stay,  send letters to the Federation , which said that we were the most correct guests. There is nothing accidental; we have a clear pattern of behavior.