Plan developpement futsal
Philippe Diallo, president of the FFF, Philippe Lafrique, member of the Executive Committee, and Hubert Fournier, national technical director, presented on Thursday, August 24, the development plan to continue the structuring of futsal.
Ten days before the start of the 2023-2024 futsal season, with the 1st day of the D1 championship preceding the Blue's Elite Tour qualifying for the 2024 World Cup, Philippe Diallo, president of the FFF, Philippe Lafrique, member of the Executive Committee, and Hubert Fournier, national technical director, presented, on Thursday, August 24, during a press conference the federal plan dedicated to the development of high-level French futsal.
"Futsal is a fantastic sport that has been generating a lot of enthusiasm among young people for many years. This is reflected in a significant and promising number of licensed players," Philippe Diallo said. "It is the number 1 school sport for girls and boys with nearly 200,000 young practitioners. A few months ago, I was in front of you to present the development plan for women's football. The 2nd major priority of the FFF is futsal. This development plan is in line with the first one set up by Noël le Graët. We are now stepping up the pace to prepare for the future."
In the presence of Raphaël Reynaud, coach of the French Futsal Team and manager of the national selections, they detailed the outlines of this plan which is structured around three axes:
- high level through selections notably the French Team in the qualifiers for the 2024 World Cup and the creation of the first Women's French Team;
- competitions with the appearance of the national U18 challenge one year after that of the women's challenge;
- structuring to develop training and performance in all categories.
Philippe Diallo, the president of the FFF, and Raphaël Reynaud, the coach of the French Futsal team (photo by Germain REZÉ / FFF).
The FFF, which has made Futsal one of its main development priorities alongside women's football, will dedicate a record budget to it. "The Federation is making an unprecedented commitment by planning an investment of nearly €18.5m for the period 2022-2025," announced President Philippe Diallo. "This is a major effort and investment. We are ambitious. With this plan, we want to take France to the highest European and global level. The goal is for our team to get out of its qualifying group for the 2024 World Cup and go on to compete in it. This would be a first in such a competition. To support this elite, we are setting up an entire training program with the DTN, as this is what will allow us to have a high-performing nation tomorrow. It was also essential that the FFF commit to a feminized Futsal, hence the creation of a French women's team. Finally, in our ambition, there is the bid to host the UEFA Euro 2026. This would be a strong signal that would confirm our commitments."
KEY FIGURES OF FUTSAL
"The futsal license is the category of licenses that increases the most year after year (about +10% per season). We currently count nearly 40,000 licensed players, but nearly 250,000 practitioners in total," indicates Philippe Lafrique, member of the Executive Committee. "Futsal is the number 1 sport in school sports. Our goal is to have a sports section in each district. All the leagues have one today, we are moving forward step by step."
The French Futsal Team
► Elite Tour qualifying for the 2024 World Cup: 6 matches in September, October and December (France, Slovakia, Germany, Croatia), home matches played at Espace Mayenne de Laval
► Goal: 1st participation in a World Cup final phase, in Uzbekistan from September 14 to October 6, 2024
"We achieved our goal of qualifying for the Elite Tour, the last before the final phase of the World Cup, by finishing first in our group ahead of Serbia and Norway," recalls Raphaël Reynaud, coach of the French Futsal Team who is looking ahead to the next challenge. "The qualifications are coming up very soon, we will go to Slovakia on September 16 before hosting Germany. We will play again to a full house in Laval, in front of more than 3,000 people. The big opponent of our group is Croatia, a historically very strong nation with a long track record. We will have to finish at the top, it's up to us to challenge them. Our ambition is 2026 with the prospect of perhaps organizing the European championship with slightly more mature players, from French training but we will do everything to be present at this 2024 World Cup in Uzbekistan."
The Blues during the qualifications for the World Cup (photo Hugo PFEIFFER / ICON SPORT).
The bid for Euro 2026
► FFF's bid to host the UEFA Euro 2026, organized from January 20 to February 8, with the final dossier submitted in mid-October. The decision will be made by the European body in December 2023.
"Our bid is the culmination of FFF's commitment. After submitting the letter of intent, we must submit the final dossier on October 11," explains Philippe Lafrique. "Other countries are in the running: Latvia, used to hosting futsal competitions, Lithuania, which hosted the previous World Cup, Belgium, in futsal long before us and which hosted the Euro in 2014, and Finland, a country that is making great strides, which we find in the final phase of youth with a Federation that also puts a lot of resources. Verdict at the UEFA Executive Committee in mid-December."
The creation of a French Women's Futsal Team
► After the appearance in 2022 of the U23 selection, which complemented the existing national youth selections (U19 created in 2017, U21 in 2008), the Executive Committee of the FFF approved the creation of the French Women's Team from the 2023-2024 season. The first female selection to be created, it will be led by Pierre-Étienne Demillier, the U21 futsal coach from 2019 to 2022, and will play in the preliminary qualifying round for the UEFA Euro 2025 next spring.
"We were late to start for the boys, we wanted to be as little behind as possible with the girls, this will be the case with the creation of the French Women's Team. We waited for the creation of a national competition to be able to do it," says Raphaël Reynaud before handing over to the new coach Pierre-Étienne Demillier.
"It's a blank book where we're going to write the first pages, an adventure that's beginning, it gives everyone a lot of desire," said the latter. "Our goal? To give this selection a good start, lay solid foundations, give a good image of futsal, work and try to be efficient. We will have a first four-day training camp at the CNF Clairefontaine in a month with a review of a squad of about thirty players. Our first match will be in November against Finland."
- Delegation Leader: Claude Delforge
- Selector: Pierre-Étienne Demillier
- September 25, 2023: first gathering
- November 7 and 8, 2023: friendly matches France-Finland
- February 20 and 21, 2024: friendly matches Slovenia-France
- March 2024: international tournament
- May 2024: preliminary tour of qualification for UEFA Euro 2025
The first match for the new futsal women's French team in November (photo Sandra RUHAUT / ICON SPORT).
On the youth side...
► The U19s will be in the final phase of the Euro 2023 from Sunday 3 to Sunday 10 September in Croatia. The players of Clément Lerebours are with the host country, Portugal, and Spain. In the run-up to this competition, the FFF is also hosting Ukraine for a preparation stage in August.
► While the U21s will play the traditional Futsal Winter Cup before Christmas, the U23s will play the university world championship in June 2024.
"We created the U23 selection last year, it will take part in the university world championships in June 2024. The U19s have just qualified for the second consecutive time for the final phase of a European championship, it is the reward of the training pathway," estimates Raphaël Reynaud, also director of the Lyon Futsal Center of Excellence who will give up his post at the start of the school year to Benoît Subrin. "We have a unique structure in Europe with this center. We accommodate twenty kids for three years, little by little we see the fruit of this work up to the French A team where players are starting to arrive. The dynamic is positive for our young people."
The D1 Futsal
► Return to 12 teams (3 promoted: Hérouville, GOAL FC and AC Ajaccio)
► Unprecedented reigning champion: Étoile Lavalloise FC (Coupe-Championnat double) qualified for the Futsal Champions League
► Return of the playoffs since last season: final on June 1, 2024
L'Étoile Lavalloise celebrated its title last June (photo Barnabé MELAINE / FFF).
► National women's futsal challenge launched in 2022-2023: Nantes Métropole Futsal will defend its title (final curtain-raiser for the D1 Futsal final, Saturday, June 1, 2024)
► Appearance of the U18 Challenge this season (final curtain-raiser for the national Futsal Cup-Trophée Michel-Muffat-Joly, Saturday, May 18, 2024)
The FFF wishes to continue the structuring of futsal in France in order to develop the performance of all categories. Adopted by the Executive Committee on March 9, 2023, and by the Federal Assembly on June 10 last, the development plan sets several ambitions:
► Creation of a National Technical Advisor position in charge of the high level from 2023-2024;
► Scheduled opening of a second futsal center by 2024-2025. The first, based in Lyon, opened its doors in 2018. Raphaël Reynaud, current coach of the French Team, was its director. He will give up his place at the start of the school year to Benoît Subrin, in charge of the U23 and U21 selections;
► Achieving the figure of a futsal sports section in each district in 2024-2025;
► Creation of a U17 men's selection by 2024-2025;
► A new club license.
Hubert Fournier, the national technical director (photo Germain REZÉ / FFF).
"The structuring is one of the pillars that the president wanted to highlight. We are putting the means and we want the clubs to make an effort in this area to be stronger," says Hubert Fournier, national technical director. "As for training, the 2024-2025 season will mark the opening of a second futsal center. More and more candidates are applying for the entrance exam, it's heartbreaking to say no to some when the talent is there. We want to support our territories to offer at least one futsal sports section throughout our districts, it's a strong choice but our territories are committed. Finally, the club license will accompany the structuring of the clubs. Futsal is here to enrich French football. Like our Spanish or Portuguese neighbors, we also want to integrate it into youth training. Some professional clubs are already doing it." The DTN has also set up, as part of the first practice development plan, specific training for referees and educators who wanted to get involved in futsal by first training all technical advisers to support them.