Many club coaches get upset when their prized players are picked for their national teams and Swedish clubs could soon be facing an even more unwanted problem – releasing their players for the national futsal side.
The indoor game is recognised by FIFA with its own leagues and world championship but it remains a distant cousin to mainstream soccer, despite honing the skills of players such as Neymar and Ronaldinho when they were young.
Now the Swedish FA is considering asking clubs to release professional players to the fledgling national futsal team, according to media reports.
“We have a general rule that everyone included in a national squad has to take part,” Krister Malmsten, a Swedish FA lawyer told newspaper Sportbladet.
Malmsten admitted that futsal’s status as an amateur sport might cause problems because professional clubs can stop their players pursuing any activity as sporting amateurs outside their professional obligations, whether it was playing futsal or any other sport.
Futsal was devised by Juan Carlos Ceriani in Uruguay in 1930 as a form of five-a-side. The game is predominantly played indoors on a basketball court-size pitch with small goals and a heavier ball.
FIFA research this year revealed 150 of the 209 member associations were playing the sport – an 18% rise on 2006.
As well as being the game of choice for youngsters in South America, it is also played at the famed Barcelona academy, La Masia.
Sweden’s national futsal team coach Per Broberg told Sportbladet that he had approached Sebastian Castro-Tello, who plays professionally for second division Hammarby, about being in his side.
“I’d love to have had a player like Castro in the team but he’s a professional. How would his club feel about it ?” said Broberg.