Thursday 28 June 2012

Hansard of the Legislative Council

Special Interest Matters


Mr FINCH - Madam President, I am going to talk today about futsal. Futsal is an indoor soccer game endorsed by FIFA. It is said to be one of the world's most exciting games to watch and play. When I was looking for the pronunciation and the origin of the name, I got information from both Portugal and Spain which played off today to go into the final of the European Soccer Championship. The word 'futsal' is Portuguese for hall football, or indoor football.

The game became big in the 1980s but only became officially termed futsal when the second world championship was played in Madrid in 1985. I will come to the reason for my talking about futsal in a moment but I just want to explain the rules, even if only to help you with Trivial Pursuit. Futsal is played between two teams, each with five players, one of whom is the goalkeeper, and unlimited substitutions are permitted. Unlike some other forms of indoor football the game is played on a hard court surface, delineated by lines. Walls and boards are not used.

Futsal is also played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football. The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces. I am grateful to Wikipedia for that definition.

Futsal has been taken up by a Launceston organisation that is close to my heart, the New Horizons Club, which organises sporting activities to allow people with disabilities to compete at their own level, displaying their own unique skills and abilities. New Horizons has, since 1986, been promoting the link between people with disabilities and their hopes and dreams of becoming involved in activities that most people like us simply take for granted. The club is affiliated with Paralympics and AUSRAPID, and also Special Olympics, providing an avenue for our local athletes with disabilities to attain national standards, state standards and international-standard recognition. As its manager, Belinda Kitto, says, 'sport and recreation activities are ideal ways of encouraging community inclusion, of enhancing friendships and staying healthy and of helping people of all ages and abilities to strive for and reach their goals'.

The sporting activities through New Horizons include athletics, softball, netball, swimming, tennis, cricket, basketball and now futsal. Membership is open to anyone over 14 years of age and to families, including children from age five. Futsal is actually a replacement for soccer. The interest in that was dwindling.

That decision to take sport indoors and involve some young soccer coaches was immediately successful. Futsal is now one of the club's most popular activities. About 20 members train once a week. This weekend just gone Belinda invited Victoria and New South Wales to send teams, which they did, and under the patronage of the Lord's Taverners and Paul Sheahan who sponsored the event, it was a huge success. They had great fun. They came to town over the weekend, brought three teams from Victoria, three from New South Wales and we had three teams competing. As well as sport, the club has numerous social and fundraising events culminating in the Finch's Christmas picnic every year, which is a great event on December 11 this year. They train at the Elphin Sports Complex but New Horizons hopes to have its own futsal facilities when it develops it’s own planned sports centre. More about that later, so watch this space.

Madam PRESIDENT - Thank you to the member for Rosevears who came in 30 seconds less than his five minutes, which is highly unusual.