World renowned futsal star Alessandro Rosa Vieira, also known as Falcao, on Monday threw his weight behind the introduction of Premier Futsal League in India amid strong opposition from the country’s football federation.
Citing “non-interference” from FIFA, Falcao felt it’s time All India Football Federation (AIFF) gave recognition to the first-ever multi-national futsal league set to be played in India from July 15 to 24 with each game split into two halves of 20 minutes each.
In an interview, Falcao told PTI, “There are several private Futsal leagues that also happen world over and I have played in Dubai, Kuwait, USA etc. and they have never had any interference from AMF or FIFA.”
“As a player, I feel this is a great opportunity to popularise the sport in India by bringing the best futsal players in the world. Premier Futsal and other Futsal tournaments will enhance the sporting ecosystem here and give people another sport to choose as a viewer, audience or a player.”
After its launch, AIFF President Praful Patel and Secretary Kushal Das expressed opposition to the league and declared that the body is mulling legal action. The AIFF even considered starting a similar tournament of its own, and this was not lost on Falcao, who is also called the ‘Pele of Futsal’.
“Launch of Premier Futsal was the introduction of Futsal to India. I have heard since its launch, the India’s apex football body has also announced the launch of their own Futsal League and I think that is the biggest validation for Premier Futsal and for Futsal as a sport in general. Given the high intensity nature of the sport, the Indian youth is going to embrace Futsal,” the 39-year-old Brazilian from Sao Paulo said.
Playing as a forward, Falcao has scored a staggering 932 goals in 697 club appearances as well as 339 strikes in 201 appearances for Brazil on the international front. Owing to his incredible success, Falcao achieved superstardom in the sport.
He said, “Futsal is like religion to me. To get an opportunity to play the sport that has made me what I am today in front of so many people is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Asked what makes him think that Futsal would click in India and Falcao said the concept, which is fast growing in popularity, would go well with the fast developing Indianeconomy.
“India is the fastest growing country and Futsal is the fastest growing indoor sport of the world – it would be a great platform to showcase what Futsal is all about to the Indian youth.
“Futsal is a young sport which oozes of tricks, flair and flamboyance. For the second largest population of the world which has opened itself up to so many different sports, futsal will definitely attract a lot of young talent.”
To conclude, he reiterated that the indoor version of football is the way forward.
“Futsal is the fastest growing indoor sports in the world. Many countries have mandated their football federations to take up futsal in a much larger way. It comes down to a simple question – who doesn’t love a sachet!?
“Having established itself as a unique sport with a different talent pool as compared to football, futsal is becoming hugely popular in the core markets of the US and UK.”