The FA Futsal League has made the bold move to become a fully national competition in its 10th anniversary season - a huge step for English Futsal. Here's how the Super League will shape up: In order to ensure the league wouldn't fall foul of teams pulling out midseason, clubs were assessed on their ability to sustain themselves in the FA Futsal Super League. Criteria such as previous performances, financial backing, venue suitability and more were considered when electing clubs. The above clubs were given the nod by The FA National Futsal League committee, with some obvious choices and perhaps some controversial inclusions. The likes of FC Salisbury United and Tranmere Rovers, both without previous top tier experience, were included based on off the field achievements at the expense of the likes of Bristol City and University of Nottingham. University of Nottingham, Bristol City and FA Futsal Cup finalists, Sussex Futsal Club will be disappointed to miss out, but will compete in the FA Futsal League Division 1, a strong division, with the carrot of a place in the Super League the prize for the winners.
New League format for 2017/18
With the FA Futsal Super League due to kick off in September 2017, there is a lot of preparation and adaptation required for clubs to compete in this new national format. The league will now consist of 12 teams from all over England, with York City the most northern team and three London based clubs. Games almost every weekend will be a huge strain on teams used to playing sometimes just once per month. Not just financially, with an estimated cost of Â£20,000, but also committing to travel up and down England, taking up full weekends and not to mention training at least twice per week. There will be no playoffs this season, simply the league winners willÂ play in UEFA Futsal Champions League! Two teams will be relegated, with one from each of the Division 1 leagues (North and South) gaining automatic promotion.
* FOF Melksham and FS Derby have since withdrawn.
RulesA couple of interesting rules have been included this season with the aim of professionalising the league and the sport in England. All with the view of attracting sponsors and spectators to futsal games.
Match day squad of 12Teams can no longer turn up with two subs and expect to form part of the FA Futsal Super League. The league have put in a rule that ensures maximum levels of professionalism in all Super League games. Teams MUST name seven subs who are available to play (no injured players), with sanctions to those who break the rule. For the lower tiers, the number drops to 10. For games that are attended by fans and watched on the internet, this rule gives the sport a much better image and moves away from the ""glorified 5-a-side"" perception that some clubs in the past have given off.
6 English playersOf these 12, clubs are obliged to include 6 English players in the match day squad (or 50% if in the lower tiers). Historically, champions such as Baku United, Helvecia and Oxford City have won the league with only a couple of English players and very few opportunities have been afforded to English players. This rule should mean that English players are featuring more often in the league and giving Michael Skubala 72 players playing week in week out, available for selection.
Previous English League FormatsWhen the FA National Futsal League launched in 2008, replacing The FA Futsal Cup as the national championship, it was split into North, Midlands and South, with the top 2 teams of each division contesting the finals over a weekend. This format lasted five seasons until a ""Super League"" was introduced where the top four teams of each division qualified for a round of 12 teams split into four groups of three, with the winners of each group contesting the final four. Three seasons later, a Super League of two groups of six, followed by semi finals was the final season of the three league format. Clubs were now ready to play in a North and South format, with playoffs following the regular season and two seasons of that was the perfect set up for the new National Super League.
English Format history and National Champions
2003 - FA Futsal Cup. Winners: Sheffield Hallam 2004 - FA Futsal Cup. Winners: Team USSR 2005 - FA Futsal Cup. Winners: Doncaster Deaf College 2006 - FA Futsal Cup. Winners: White Bear 2007 - FA Futsal Cup. Winners: Ipswich Wolves 2008 - Regional Leagues and finals. Winners: London Helvecia 2009 -Â Regional Leagues and finals. Winners: London Helvecia 2010 -Â Regional Leagues and finals. Winners: London Helvecia 2011 -Â Regional Leagues and finals. Winners: London Helvecia 2012 -Â Regional Leagues and finals. Winners: London Helvecia 2013 - Regional Leagues and Super League. Winners: London City 2014 - Regional Leagues and Super League. Winners: London City 2015 - Regional Leagues and Super League. Winners: London City 2016 - Super League N/S and playoffs. Winners: Oxford City 2017 - Super League N/S and playoffs. Winners: London Helvecia 2018 - FA Futsal Super League. Winners: ???
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