Wednesday 21 February 2024, 14:30

Raising the profile of beach soccer: experts meet at workshop in Dubai

  • FIFA hosted a three-day Beach Soccer Technical Experts Workshop in Dubai

  • The workshop was part of efforts to grow the sport worldwide

  • Sixteen teams are taking part in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2024 Dubai™

Away from the sun and sand at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2024 Dubai™, some of the sport’s top technical experts met behind the scenes as part of FIFA’s efforts to develop the sport around the world and tap its full potential. Just as it is doing with eleven-a-side football, FIFA wants to create more equal opportunities in beach soccer for its 211 member associations and help them to increase participation and raise standards. The eleven experts, invited by the FIFA Global Football Development Division, were brought together for a three-day Beach Soccer Technical Experts workshop where they exchanged ideas, knowledge and best practices and combined the theory and practice of beach soccer. They included Marcelo Mendes, the experienced Brazilian who is now China PR beach soccer national team coach and is determined to raise the profile of the sport. “(Brazil is) the birthplace of beach soccer so I think it’s very important for us to go abroad and show what we learned, and how the sport started,” he said. “I have to tell them to try it because I am 100% sure they will love it. It’s a spectacular sport, and...can bring many benefits for kids and youth.”

Beach Soccer is a highly entertaining, goal-packed and fun version of football which demands a special set of skills and, at the top level, is played in a party atmosphere. Although the first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™ only took place in 2005, it has grown rapidly as an organised international sport and has huge potential for further development. It can also open the way to international football for member associations which have never participated at the FIFA World Cup™, such as Tahiti, one of the 16 teams taking part in Dubai and runners-up in 2015 and 2017. Ramiro Figueiras Amarelle, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2008™ adidas Golden Ball winner, said it was imperative for member associations to utilise all available expertise. “The reality of each member association is completely different. We have to understand the world is different, so we have to be able to share the knowledge and the experience from all the parts of the world according to the requirements or the demands of each member association,” he said. “The key is to be able to engage more people, to be able to offer the door to beach soccer for as many participants as possible, create the right structures, the right competition formats and help the member associations to improve from the inside to then be able to prove to the outside, the value of their countries.”

Oman beach soccer national team coach Talib Hilal Al Thanawi emphasised the importance of coaching and urged member associations to tap into all the FIFA has to offer in that regard. “I think we need to educate the coaches first on how to play this game. Because if you don’t have good coaches, the game will not develop,” he said. “So, first, you have to find experts, who can train the players well. And then, as experts, sometimes, we have to do more than just what we need to do because our job is to make this game go further. So, we have a long way to go compared to sports like futsal.”

The workshop included a session with the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup’s Technical Study Group for a technical, tactical and physical analysis of the tournament, and to get their views on how to develop beach soccer worldwide. “FIFA is offering assessment visits so that our experts can go to the countries and assess the situation in the country,” said FIFA Amateur Football Manager Jorge Díaz-Cidoncha García. “We offer capacity building as well, so we locate coaches and coach educators, so that they can have independent coach educators in the country, to build their own local structures as well. And, of course, a member association needs to have beach soccer in their own national, technical strategy.”

FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup