There is a feature on the Chesterfield Futsal League in the FA section of Hive Learning where it is part of an extensive library of advice and discussion about the England DNA. If you are new to Hive, go to www.hivelearning.com/thefa to create a profile and then use the ‘Search’ bar in Hive and locate “England DNA Foundation Phase” then click on “Grassroots Clubs” and then “Chesterfield Futsal”. While you are there, take time to explore all the other information on coaching and developing youngsters, and get involved in the discussion groups. And encourage players and their parents and guardians to do the same. It’s a wonderful resource.
We sent a questionnaire to 71 coaches and managers and received 17 replies covering 23 teams (about 40% of teams playing regularly). We are very grateful to everyone who replied – if anyone else wants to contribute we’ll add those responses to the one we already have. Response figures below have been rounded.
Section A - If we keep the present overall format (games on Fridays in central Chesterfield, lasting 25 minutes one-way, with one referee)
Q1: Would you like more games than at present (most teams have about a dozen games each season)?
A: Over 80% wanted more games; most wanted a few more but not as many as double the current number.
Q2: If teams have more games, we can’t have as many teams playing. Would you prefer more games or more teams to play against?
A: Most didn’t mind whether more games meant more or fewer different opponent.
Q3: If we have to limit the number of teams in the league should we give preference to local teams?
A: Only two replies gave preference to local teams alone; most gave preference equally to local and present league teams.
Section B – if we expand the league next season, we’ll need to make some changes. What do you think about the following?
Q4: Expanding the league will mean finding additional venues. Assuming most games would be at Queens Park, if you are based in Chesterfield what are your preferences?
A: Replies were split evenly between the three options, new venues in central Chesterfield, venues in wider Chesterfield and venues further away from Chesterfield.
Q5: Additional venues mean we need more referees. We can’t guarantee that so are you willing to referee.
A: 65% would referee matches if necessary.
Q6: Would you like to play games at your own venue rather than travelling to Queen’s Park? The League wouldn’t charge a match fee, but the home team would be responsible for the venue, referee, etc.
A: Nearly 60% wanted central venues for all matches, but 30% would allow own venues when both teams wanted it.
Q7: If expansion can only come through playing on other days as well as Fridays would you be happy with that?
A: A third wanted Fridays only; of the rest no-one excluded Mondays and Tuesdays, but Saturdays weren’t popular.
Section C - We are always considering changes to improve the futsal experience we offer so it would be helpful to know your views on the following questions.
Q8: Is 25 minutes the right length for a game in your age group? The option is to move to 40-minute games at double the current match fee.
A: 45% wanted to stay at 25 minutes and a further 30% were content with 25 minutes. Older teams were more likely to favour longer games.
Q9: If we stick with 25-minute games would you prefer two games on each match day? (We’ll continue to do this anyway for teams that travel a long way.)
A: Over 60% wanted two games per visit; the rest didn’t want two or didn’t mind.
Q10: In your age group would you like to have two referees per game and pay a higher match fee (about £3-5 more)?
A: 25% wanted two referees even if it costs more; 50% voted “no”. Those wanting to pay more for two referees were from older age group teams.
Section D – as we’ve got you attention could you answer the following questions please?
Q11: We don’t apply all the laws of futsal strictly (eg substitutes must leave the court before their replacement enters it). Would you like us to start to do that at your age group?
A: 60% wanted full implementation of all laws. The remainder, all bar one from younger age groups, were happy with the present arrangements.
Q12: Some competitions make music an important part of the futsal experience. Is music on match days important to you?
A: No-one thought music important for the match day experience, although only two replies would resist it.
Q13: We’d like to stop collecting match fees in cash. Would you be happy if we moved to a non-cash regime?
A: Nearly 80% want us to move to a cashless regime.
Q14: Would you, or others you know, be interested in courses in futsal coaching and/or refereeing?
A: We were told there were 8 candidates for level one, 3 for level two and 4 for a referee’s course. Three other replies said there was interest but didn’t quantify it. Only one reply said there was no such interest.
How we intend to take this forward
We will look to expand the league next season to increase capacity for new teams and for more games for existing teams. One way of giving teams more games is to divide age groups into divisions, which means teams will play a smaller number of teams but play more often, so we’ll look at that.
If we are oversubscribed present league teams will have preference over new teams; after that we’ll give preference to new local teams.
We’ll see if we can do all that on Fridays in central Chesterfield, but there seems to be enough flexibility to offer some games on other days and further afield.
Most people want us to stick with 25-minute games with one referee, but that is less true as we deal with older age groups, especially u16s. It’s the same with implementing all laws strictly but there the cut-off point is lower, around u12. We will consider implementing all laws strictly for u12s and above, and introducing two referees for u16s and above.
Music is clearly not a pressing matter, so we won’t worry about that now.
A cashless fees regime becomes more and more important to the league (it would save a great deal of time and bother if we didn’t have to collect match fees in cash) and if we expand to more venues it will be essential. So, we’ll do that for next season and talk to teams for whom that would be a real problem about how to accommodate them.
We are already in discussions with DCFA about coaching and refereeing courses.
Any expansion will depend on
a) finding suitable new venues and
b) finding new referees or using team mangers or coaches (or players if aged 14 or over) as referees.
And finally, we are always open to new folks joining the committee and helping out on match days. That will help expansion too.
The League is supporting the work of the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, who care for children and young adults with life-shortening and life-threatening conditions. They are currently supporting around 250 families, both in the hospice and in family homes. In just one year, Bluebell Wood provides more than 50,000 of hours of care.
It costs more than £4m to help families across South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire, North Derbyshire and part of North Lincolnshire. Bluebell Wood receives around 10% of its funding from government sources.
If you can help Bluebell Wood please contact them at bluebellwood.org.