Laurent Morel: “UEFA Futsal EURO is a flagship competition”

Head of futsal at UEFA, Mr Laurent Morel, with the official title UEFA Futsal Competition Manager, described the current position of futsal in the UEFA family, talked about the importance of UEFA Futsal EURO and futsal in Germany, revealed the expectation about the Slovenian fans and discussed how futsal was not just shadowing football.

Futsal in the UEFA

“Futsal has gained a lot of recognition lately. We started in the late 90s, so it is still a young discipline, but it developed quite fast. Especially in the last few editions, we managed to reach a very good benchmark every time. There is a really good recognition in the house of UEFA nowadays and feelings about it are very positive. The people see how professional futsal is getting and acknowledge high match attendances.”

UEFA Futsal EURO

“European national team competition is a flagship competition. We started with that at UEFA back in the 1996. This is the biggest project we have in futsal. Together with the World Cup, national teams are really the most important for the fans and for the media. There is a lot of interest also because you can compare futsal teams in blocs; we have ex-soviet bloc, Balkan bloc and Mediterranean bloc.”

Germany enters

“That Germany, with the population of 80 million, entered the competition in 2017 is a big step forward. We visited them 10 years ago and explained what futsal was. At that time they played a different version of an indoor game. Now they have done their homework and they have worked hard. They are still learning, but there is a big future for futsal in Germany. They have started very recently with very positive results. Naturally, we are following them closely as being a major country will help the promotion of the game. ‘Die Mannschaft’ is a locomotive in the world of football and futsal.”

Slovenia is nr 7 in the ranking and we definitely expect a great atmosphere in Arena Stožice.

New format

“The new UEFA president Mr Aleksander Čeferin is aware of the reality of futsal. He opened the debate In the UEFA Futsal Committee to see what were the directions of the game. One of the options is to expand the EURO from 12 to 16 teams. From a competition point of view, 16 teams would be very interesting; in length, attractiveness… We are working on that project together with the UEFA Futsal Committee and we hope it will evolve.”

Complementary to football

“We will never reach the prestige and the popularity of football. Recognized everywhere as a universal sport it also has more than a 100 years of history.  As a young discipline, futsal answers to the demands in the today’s society. This is a fast game, with a lot of action and a lot of goals. Rather than a feeling of living in football’s shadow we try to work hand in hand with football. We try to be complementary to football; we try to offer an alternative to football as well: for the fans, players, youngsters, girls, etc. I think that instead of covering one aspect of the game with futsal, we are offering a wider range.”

Slovenian fans

“Slovenia is a very performing and competitive country in indoor sports. This was confirmed at the recent World Handball Championship.  Obviously, for futsal we can only expect big attendance in Ljubljana. Slovenia is nr 7 in the ranking and we definitely expect a great atmosphere in Arena Stožice and we look forward almost a year in advance to see this atmosphere.”