Is Futsal an Olympic Sport?

Is Futsal an Olympic Sport?

The popularity of Futsal makes enthusiasts wonder why it isn’t an Olympic sport. To be part of the Olympic Games, it would probably have to compete against soccer for a place. Soccer is one of FIFA’s most lucrative products, so it is unlikely that it would ever be excluded. 

The International Olympic Committee is trying to reduce the cost of the games and limits the Summer Olympics to 10,500 athletes. To earn a place in the Olympics, any new sport must bring more value than those already included or bidding to be included. 

What is Futsal?

Futsal is a modified form of soccer where five players per side play on a small, indoor court. They play with a smaller and less bouncy ball than soccer. The small court size means players should use great skills and techniques to play well. 

To the disappointment of those who play Futsal on a professional level, it is not included in the Olympic Games. Many states in the United States have legalized online betting on casino games and sports betting. Americans will be able to bet on some ‘modern’ sports that have been recently included in the Olympics such as skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing. However, Futsal isn’t an Olympic sport they can bet on despite its increasing popularity in certain parts of the world. 

A brief history of Futsal

Juan Carlos Ceriani, a teacher in Uruguay, originally developed the game in the 1930s to play on a basketball court. He took the five players to a side and the match duration was 40 minutes from basketball. Other rules came from sports like handball and water polo. 

The game that came to be known as Futsal spread quickly through South America and 1965 saw the formation of the first international confederation. In 1989, FIFA became the governing body of the sport. In the first edition of the World Cup held in the Netherlands, Brazil had a worry-free journey to beating the hosts in the final. There is now the EUFA Futsal Championships League that dovetails with professional competitions across the continent. 

What would it take for Futsal to become an Olympic Sport?

A sport must be governed by an international federation that follows the rules of the Olympic Charter to be recognized by the IOC. A proposal by an international federation to add a discipline must be approved by the IOC’s executive board. The most popular Olympic sports are practiced widely across the world and have to fulfill various conditions. 

Futsal at Youth Olympics

In countries like Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and Brazil, youngsters grow up playing Futsal. Ten national Futsal teams were included in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. Futsal teams will also be part of the next Youth Olympics in 2026 in Dakar. As the game is so popular with young people, this does present hope of its inclusion in future Summer Olympics. 

What could happen in the future?

As it grows as a professional sport, Futsal is becoming more popular in strong European countries like Germany and France. If the United States were to establish a professional league and the game started to spread through Africa and Asia, it would be hard for the IOC to ignore. Futsal could become one of the most popular indoor sports worldwide at some point in the future.