Recent years have seen a number of harsh winters with snow, floods and other poor weather conditions affecting the amount of football being played. Of course, this affects all participants of the game: adult as much as youth.
But for young players learning the game and developing their skills and love for football, these long absences during the winter months without any football can be particularly detrimental.
This season 32 youth leagues around the country will be changing their winter programme to offer 12,000 young players, both boys and girls, the opportunity to play Futsal.
Futsal is a 5-a-side format of the game that is primarily played in indoor sports-halls and is recognised for the benefits it can impart on the technical development of young players. So not only will young boys and girls be escaping the harsher winter elements by playing indoors, but they will also be playing a format of the game that can significantly support their development.
"There is a growing awareness in this country of the benefits of Futsal, and it is a huge step that so many large youth leagues have embraced the game as it will result in their clubs, coaches and players benefiting from this format of the game."
And Andrew Hailwood, FA National Development Manager for Leagues, was delighted with the commitment from so many FA Charter Standard Leagues towards developing Futsal provision: "Delivering Futsal is new for many FA Charter Standard Leagues, but there has been an overwhelming response and enthusiasm to embrace it.
“It is a huge step that so many large youth leagues have embraced the game”
"In order to obtain the small grants that we have been offering, Leagues have outlined their development plans for Futsal, reassuring us how they will continue to widen Futsal provision and sustain the activity with their clubs.
"It is clear that Futsal participation within these leagues will only grow over the coming years, and this will be significantly helped by the large number of grassroots coaches and referees across the country that will obtain FA Futsal coaching and referee qualifications through this funding programme."
The days of the winter football programme being cancelled due to the weather may be long-gone. Youth football will definitely benefit with more leagues offering Futsal provision to young players.