New BT Sport deal creates hope for English futsal

A three year deal was signed on 22 September between the National Futsal Series and BT Sport to show 110 hours of futsal across seven weekends of the 2021/22 season. 

The BT sport coverage will be split equally between men’s National Futsal Series One teams and Women’s Super Series teams, with women’s games coverage starting on 9 October and men’s coverage on 10 October.

Among this weekend’s headline BT Sport fixtures, two of London’s best teams, London Helvecia and Bloomsbury Futsal play on 10 October at 2.30pm. 

Bloomsbury Futsal player and ex-U19s England team captain Jared Rand, 21, said: “The BT deal will drive more traffic and talent to the game.

“This is the first step in taking the sport from an amateur level to a professional one.”

However, the FA risks losing some of their best young Futsal players like Rand, who will be looking for a more secure future in the sport, a year after the FA announced that they were cutting funding to all levels of futsal which left many disappointed.

Rand added: “It was a short-sighted decision from the FA.”

He has since been in contact with the American Futsal set up as a way of continuing to play internationally, after experiencing first-hand the effects of the FA’s decision.

The BT deal comes as a huge boost to the sport and the loss of funding affected many independent clubs around the country.

However, the LNFS England (Liga Nacional de Fútbol Sala) boasts four divisions with 38 teams in total, featuring Clapham-based team Old Boys Futsal.

The club’s creator Daniel Slater, 28, said: “I am being cautious but I’m relatively optimistic about the new BT deal.”

While many heaped a lot of blame on the FA, Slater believes this is unjust as there is not much to show for their investment, due to a little international success for the English futsal team.

He added: “Part of this is down to a lack of strategy of the funding at the FA level.

“There will come a point where the question of why the largest football organisation in the world isn’t funding a ‘big’ sport will become too big to ignore.”

Featured image credit: Diego Sideburns

Related Articles