Ref!!! I hardly Touched Him by Tim Marler
Futsal is growing in the UK, there's no denying it. Every weekend there are tournaments where youth teams from as young as U6s, going up to U16s, are playing competitive games. Then there's the local men's and women's leagues that run weekly in nearly every county. The women’s North, Midlands, South and we can't forget the top six men’s divisions, showcasing the elite players in the Super League, North and South Div 1 and North, Midlands and South Div 2. There are dozens and dozens of games every week and especially at the weekend. Lots of the players are only just starting out their refusal journey, whereas some are very experienced and have played all over the world. Many of them have played in a University team, but most started their journey playing football.
And where would we be without the referee. Admittedly, they're not everyone's favourite person, but we can't have a game without them. So what about them, where did they begin? Like most players, many of them started life in the many football leagues around the country. And for me, this is a bit of a problem. When you're used to being involved in a game where a challenge for the ball and the opponent goes flying is OK, how do you suddenly stop players from doing it? And how do you suddenly blow for a free kick in a game of futsal when you're used to waving play on and saying it was a clean challenge? That's where I think we're at right now. I watch my local side week in week out and there are loads of times I think free kicks should be given but they're not.
If we're not careful, futsal will just become indoor football and it will lose the main ingredients of what made us fall in love with it. I don't want to see the biggest, strongest team win because they muscle the other team off the ball, or see a small technical team get beaten because they get kicked or barged out of the game. I want to watch a chess match with a bit wizardry
thrown in. I want to see Ricardinho rainbow flicking past a defender. I want to see awesome rotations and lightening fast passing. How can we make this happen? Easy.
Referees, it's over to you. Blow the whistle. Ping every single free kick. If you put your whistle to your mouth, blow it! I'm going to. I'm a ref. So far I've only had good feedback, but I'm sure I'll upset a few former football players along the way. I don't care. I want the kids I coach to play futsal, not indoor football!