PFF on track in historic FIFA Futsal Women’s World Cup hosting

BY

At a glance


    The Philippine Football Federation has successfully set in motion its hosting of the first-ever FIFA Futsal Women’s World Cup after winning the bid last month. 

     

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    L-R: FIFA Futsal Manager Laura Cuscó, Director FIFA Tournaments Jaime Yarza, Philippine Football Federation President John Anthony Gutierrez, FIFA Head of Olympics and Futsal and Beach Soccer Kasra Haghighi (Nikole Javier)

     

    Pitted against six other futsal powerhouse including Brazil, Spain and Italy, the Philippines secured the solo hosting gig which will be slated late November of next year. 

    As all other FIFA tournaments, the futsal will see a regular four-year cycle with 16 teams gearing up to compete in the inaugural competition. 

    Riding on the crest of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup which saw its biggest crowd turnout in its ninth edition, the football governing body has finally decided to launch the women’s Futsal and is expecting to eventually earn the same reception. 

    FIFA has been overseeing three other tournaments dedicated for women including the U17 and U20 World Cups on top of the senior's competition, making the futsal its fourth. 

    The Filipinas, who captured the country’s first-ever FIFA win in their debut last year against tournament co-host New Zealand, are just one among many other factors that drew viewers in. 

    Making history anew, the Philippines will be the first team to qualify for the newly-launched tournament as part of its hosting rights, while the 15 other spots are set to be disputed by other nations. 

    “While other teams, other women are dreaming of an opportunity to play in a World Cup, the Philippines had already been listed as a participant. We are the first team to qualify," Philippine Football Federation (PFF) President John Gutierrez said. 

    "This is no small achievement. We are where other women around the world are dreaming of. We have to take advantage of this. We are again given a magnificent opportunity to showcase Filipina talent around the world. We have to spread the word," he added. 

    FIFA officials have made their courtesy visit to the Philippines and have already sat down with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) regarding the historic hosting, pointing out similar aspirations from the country’s successful FIBA Basketball World Cup hosting last year. 

    Both federations are also looking into venues beyond Manila as half of the fixtures will be simultaneously held in another city, possibly in Cebu, though nothing is really off the table yet. 

    As for the national team lineup, the PFF is looking into a mix of homegrown players while scouring outside the country to tap potential talents. 

    “We will enjoin the entire country to be part of this momentous and once-in-a-lifetime event. We will promote futsal in schools and communities as this will help us develop our football nationwide. Equally important, we want to discover and hone local talents that can represent our country as members of the national team, who will be a source of pride not just for their respective regions but for the entire country as well,” added Gutierrez.

    Lastly, Gutierrez assured that "all Filipinas around the world will be given a chance" to play for the national futsal team.

    "It will be a mix of Filipinos who play the game," Gutierrez said. "But I would like to stress that everyone will be given the same chance and I encourage our locally-developed players to step up and show the world what the Philippine program and way of playing futsal can do."