Futsal in Cambodia – Soccer’s Poor Relation?

Futsal in Cambodia

Futsal, the indoor 5 aside version of 11 aside football is quickly growing in popularity in Cambodia. Is there though space within the Kingdom or it, or is it juts a poor relation to football?

BPVE sat down with Khul Phyrum head of Futsal at the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC).

What the Futsal?

Futsal in essentially the smaller indoor version of what we know as Association Football, or soccer. Originally just a  derivative of the mother sport it has since taken on a life of its own and in many countries is as if not more popular than the 11 a side version.

And as for Futsal in Cambodia, there were previously a number of attempts to set it up, before it was finally fully established in 2017. Fortunes have varied somewhat since then, but there is now a national team, as well as one national championship – currently delayed.

So, what doe the future look like?

The National Championship of Cambodian Futsal

According to Phyrum there has been a national championship since 2017, which has consisted of a varied amount of teams, with the winners participating in the regional AFF Championship.

The current sponsors are Tiger beer, which will feature 19 teams and offer a record $15,000 in prize funding. It is planned to kick off in late May with Phyrum stating “We wanted to wait until the end of the SEA Games to ensure maximum exposure for clubs and sponsors”.

They were also looking to add another national competition with Phyrum adding “We want to try a second championship that is nationwide and might attract over 100 clubs. This would then go down to the top eight clubs in the country, who would then compete on a league basis”.

And what is the Cambodian Premier League involvement in Futsal?

According to Phyrum sadly not enough, with not a single futsal club linked to a professional Cambodian league club, unlike in countries such as Spain where clubs such as FC Barcelona proudly compete at Futsal.

“There was briefly the Blue Warriors who were loosely associated with Visakha and there has been some interest from Phnom Penh Crown, but overall it is hard to attract the big clubs as due to less exposure there is less money from sponsors” he added.

To read about the Blue Warriors Futsal team click here.

Sponsorship for sport including football has been obviously hard to generate within Cambodia, with even the CPL falling way short of its $3 million target over the last two years.

To read about the Cambodian Premier League click here.

Futsal in Cambodia – What are the costa and barriers to setting up a team?

And as for setting up your own club? The costs and indeed barriers were relatively low according to Phyrum “We do not charge for clubs to enter the championship, but we do require clubs to cover their own costs, such as renting venues and covering their players, although they do not have tone paid. So long as the clubs have a coach, manager and kit then they are pretty much good to go”.

Budget though much like with anything was still strongly associated with how successful you might be. Currently Futsal in Cambodia is essentially semi-professional, with the clubs with rich benefactors tending to fare best.

According to Na Ra, coach of the former Blue Warriors, who previously finished champions to compete at the top level required a budget of “at least $30,000 a year”.

Overall though the FFC and Phyrum are confident about the future of the sport finally adding “We invest a lot of money in training coaches and referees and the FFC are very supportive. As Cambodia develops we truly feel that Futsal in Cambodia can compete with other sports”.

This article is adapted from BPVE, (https://bpve.com/) reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (https://www.cambodiasportsreview.com/)
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