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Olympic Futsal

OLYMPIC FUTSAL IT'S TIME

let's do our part.

We all want to see futsal become a real Olympic sport, not just talked about repeatedly with reasons of why it should be an Olympic sport, so let's do our part.

The World Futsal Federation WFF, has decided that while we cannot change the opinion of the IOC to allow futsal into the Olympic games, we can begin the process of growing future futsal players under the Olympic Codes of Conduct, which in turn would give futsal a real base to petition for the sport to be allowed into the Olympics. The criteria listed in the Olympic charter must be fostered through the growth and development of our youth members.       

Over five billion people from more than 200 countries watched some part of the Summer Olympic Games. Why do more than two-thirds of the entire population of the world follow the Olympic Games? It’s because the Olympics have become the world’s greatest sports competition and one of the most powerful social and cultural forces in human history.

It is likely that well over two-thirds of the youth who participate in junior futsal and their families also watched those Games with awe, wonder and enthusiasm.

These young people are going to be asking questions to junior program leaders like:

“How do you get to go to the Olympics?”

“Is Futsal in the Olympics?”

“Is it possible that I could go to the Olympics?”

There are young futsal players in every program who nurture an “Olympic dream.” That dream can be anything from youthful adulation of Olympic stars to a serious goal of someday going to the Olympics or even becoming an Olympic gold medal winner. The Olympic dream inspires many junior players because their sport can be an Olympic sport. To guide these dreams in constructive ways, junior futsal coaches, club leaders and parents need to know about the Junior Olympic Games and the vital role futsal can play in them. Junior leaders who do this well can bring real benefits to their programs and to the young people in them. But real change must happen with good reforms that model our junior programs after the Junior Olympic model. These changes are time consuming and may leave some programs feeling vulnerable to those programs that have no ambition to provide real Junior Olympic competition, it’s easier to keep the status quo, even if it does not support the Olympic dream.   

This where the United States born association called Major League Futsal USA comes in, with the establishment of the MLF Youth Academy designed as the first Junior Olympic Futsal model and went live in October of 2012. We quickly discovered that futsal groups from around the U.S. had no any idea of what Junior Olympic sports was all about or even how it worked. This information was troublesome to the MLF Youth Academy staff, because there is not one sport in the Olympics that does not have it's junior counterpart. Without a real Junior Olympic Futsal model in place the chances of getting futsal into the Olympics just decreased. At the moment, youth futsal programs are managed under the pay to play model created and fostered by business associations. The paid to play model creates a closed-door system and the right to protect your own pot of gold mentality, which is not good for Junior Olympic Futsal.

The MLF Youth Academy decided to form educational components to teach what Junior Olympic futsal looks like and when the futsal community realizes that through Junior Olympic development, futsal can make into the Olympics just like many other sports. We may start seeing more and more programs adopt the Junior Olympic model.  Since 2004 we developed  and fostered the following model programs, even though other junior futsal groups like USFF and USYF have been around for many years, they did not have the components in place to justify a junior Olympic model. It has only been since 2017 that USYF adopted these models as their own and we still believe that the USFF has not followed suit.

How Can Junior Programs Benefit from the Olympics?

For junior coaches, leaders and parents, the first step in realizing the benefits that the Olympics offer is education. Every youth who joins the program should know that they can take special pride in their sport because it is an Olympic sport. Dedicate time during team sessions to provide information about Olympic events and history. Ask them to select names from the list of USA Olympic gold medalists and prepare short reports on them.  

Be sure to introduce the “Olympic possibility” to team members. Young people should know that if they are willing to adopt a serious training program where they work incredibly hard and seek lots of quality competitions they can advance along what is called the “Olympic path.”

When young futsal players buy into the Olympic dream they become part of a culture of striving for excellence. Olympic athletes’ personal stories teach Olympic values. IOC and USOC educational programs stress values like joy through effort, mutual understanding, non-discrimination and fair play. Olympic sports lead the world in the fight to prevent doping and using artificial means to improve sports results. Youth in Olympic sports benefit from links with the youth of the world that are not conditioned by discrimination, religion, race or political ideology.

Working with youth who are trying to excel has its own special challenges for coaches and parents. The path is never straight. There are lots of curves, roadblocks and detours that require corrective approaches. Youth leaders must apply code words like joy; hard work won’t continue unless youth are also having fun. Dealing with misfortune and defeats offer great teaching moments. A key virtue is perseverance; hard work often does not produce immediate results.

There is a haunting concern that only a small handful of athletes from among thousands will ever stand on Olympic podiums. Coaches must be prepared to answer questions about whether pursuing an Olympic dream is realistic. But those who have lived the dream say it is okay to dream and it is okay to strive for excellence. Whether that effort ever leads to marching in an Olympic ceremony or standing on a victory podium, the life lessons that come from the process of striving for excellence yield fantastic lifetime memories and lifetime habits of trying to be better at whatever we do.

Too often, and most unfortunately, the media and television see the result of each Olympic competition as one winner and many losers. But we must remember what Baron de Coubertin said, “The most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle.” Everyone who pursues the Olympic dream can be a winner.

So, is the reality of futsal becoming an Olympic sport just a dream? We don’t think so but it must start by changing the consciousness of the current futsal community, to understand that there is more to futsal than a winter league or a built it training component of an outdoor soccer club. By placing futsal into a category, we have inadvertently labeled the sport a stepchild to soccer, that no one takes seriously because it is the lesser of a dominant big brother.

While we believe that futsal helps develop players, we do not believe that just because you play futsal you will be a world class player. World class players are world class that’s it, not because of futsal but because of who they are. When was the last time you heard the English Premier League or La Liga state here’s a player while new to the outdoor game, is one of the greatest futsal players in the world? Never. They are two different sports and should not be tied at the hip, there are futsal players who never play outdoor and vice-versa. To differentiate the two sports gives each its own identity to bid for the Olympic dream.       

Change the consciousness of how we use the word futsal and make Futsal's Olympic Dream come true.   

A LITTLE ABOUT THE OLYMPIC CHARTER

To pursue this dream, we must look at a few necessary elements outlined in the Olympic Charter. With all the articles written about why futsal should be included, not many if any state that the Olympic Charter must be followed for acceptance. This is the starting point, and the catalysts for change. Yes, it’s exciting, fast paced and high scoring it has all the attributes of real sport, and that’s why we love it. But let’s dive into the heart of the matter and find out what we must do in the first step of achieving our Olympic dream.  

Let’s learn a little about the Olympic Charter:  

Introduction to the Olympic Charter

The Olympic Charter (OC) is the codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism,

Rules and Bye-laws adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It governs the organization, action and operation of the Olympic Movement and sets forth the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Charter serves three main purposes:

a) The Olympic Charter, as a basic instrument of a constitutional nature, sets forth and recalls the Fundamental Principles and essential values of Olympism.

b) The Olympic Charter also serves as statutes for the International Olympic Committee.

c) In addition, the Olympic Charter defines the main reciprocal rights and obligations of the three main constituents of the Olympic Movement, namely the International Olympic Committee, the International Federations and the National Olympic Committees, as well as the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games, all of which are required to comply with the Olympic Charter.

Preamble

Modern Olympism was conceived by Pierre de Coubertin, on whose initiative the International Athletic Congress of Paris was held in June 1894. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) constituted itself on 23 June 1894. The first Olympic Games (Games of the Olympiad) of modern times were celebrated in Athens, Greece, in 1896. In 1914, the Olympic flag presented by Pierre de Coubertin at the Paris Congress was adopted. It includes the five interlaced rings, which represent the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games. The first Olympic Winter Games were celebrated in Chamonix, France, in 1924.

Fundamental Principles of Olympism

1. Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

2. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

3. The Olympic Movement is the concerted, organized, universal and permanent action, carried out under the supreme authority of the IOC, of all individuals and entities who are inspired by the values of Olympism. It covers the five continents. It reaches its peak with the bringing together of the world’s athletes at the great sports festival, the Olympic Games. Its symbol is five interlaced rings.

4. The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

5. Recognizing that sport occurs within the framework of society, sports organizations within the Olympic Movement shall have the rights and obligations of autonomy, which include freely establishing and controlling the rules of sport, determining the structure and governance of their organizations, enjoying the right of elections free from any outside influence and the responsibility for ensuring that principles of good governance be applied.

6. The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. 

7. Belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC.

The Olympic symbol*

The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions (the Olympic rings), used alone, in one or in five different colors. When used in its five-color version, these colors shall be, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The rings are interlaced from left to right; the blue, black and red rings are situated at the top, the yellow and green rings at the bottom in accordance with the following graphic reproduction.

The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.

Composition and general organization of the Olympic Movement

1. Under the supreme authority and leadership of the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic Movement encompasses organizations, athletes and other persons who agree to be guided by the Olympic Charter. The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced in accordance with Olympism and its values.

2. The three main constituents of the Olympic Movement are the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”), the International Sports Federations (“IFs”) and the National Olympic Committees (“NOCs”).

3. In addition to its three main constituents, the Olympic Movement also encompasses the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (“OCOGs”), the national associations, clubs and persons belonging to the IFs and NOCs, particularly the athletes, whose interests constitute a fundamental element of the Olympic Movement’s action, as well as the judges, referees, coaches and the other sports officials and technicians. It also includes other organizations and institutions as recognized by the IOC.

4. Any person or organization belonging in any capacity whatsoever to the Olympic Movement is bound by the provisions of the Olympic Charter and shall abide by the decisions of the IOC.

Mission and role of the IOC*

The mission of the IOC is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement. The IOC’s role is:

1. to encourage and support the promotion of ethics and good governance in sport as well as education of youth through sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in sport, the spirit of fair play prevails and violence is banned;

2. to encourage and support the organization, development and coordination of sport and sports competitions;

3. to ensure the regular celebration of the Olympic Games;

4. to cooperate with the competent public or private organizations and authorities in the endeavor to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace;

5. to act to strengthen the unity of the Olympic Movement, to protect its independence and to preserve the autonomy of sport;

6. to act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement;

7. to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures with a view to implementing the principle of equality of men and women;

8. to protect clean athletes and the integrity of sport, by leading the fight against doping, and by acting against all forms of manipulation of competitions and related corruption;

9. to encourage and support measures relating to the medical care and health of athletes;

10. to oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes;

11. to encourage and support the efforts of sports organizations and public authorities to provide for the social and professional future of athletes;

12. to encourage and support the development of sport for all;

13. to encourage and support a responsible concern for environmental issues, to promote sustainable development in sport and to require that the Olympic Games are held accordingly;

14. to promote a positive legacy from the Olympic Games to the host cities and host countries;

15. to encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education;

16. to encourage and support the activities of the International Olympic Academy (“IOA”) and other institutions which dedicate themselves to Olympic education.

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Baron Pierre de Coubertin founder of the Olympics

Olympic History:

The Olympic Games are an international multi-sport competition with 2,790 years of unique history and tradition. The first Games began at Olympia in 776 BC as athletic contests among Ancient Greek city-states to honor Zeus. The Games took place every four years and featured an Olympic Truce that temporarily stopped wars. Religious celebrations and artistic competitions were part of those Games. Event winners received olive branches and usually considerable sums of money.

Those Games endured for more than 11 centuries until the 4th century AD when the Romans banned them as “pagan festivals.” 16th century humanism revived interest in Ancient Greek physical culture and sport, but it was not until the late 19th century when an idealistic French nobleman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 and organized the revival of the Ancient Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. de Coubertin believed striving for excellence in peaceful international sports competitions could break down barriers that keep people divided and change a war-torn world for the better. His many legendary quotes expressed this ideal quite clearly.

Today, Summer Olympic Games, Winter Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Youth Olympic Games are each celebrated every four years in different host cities around the world. The use of ritual and symbolism including the Olympic flag and five rings, the Olympic torch, Olympic motto, opening and closing ceremonies and award ceremonies that honor gold, silver and bronze medal winners give a distinguishing appeal to the Olympic Games. The Summer and Winter Games became so popular in the 1970s and 1980s that continued growth threatened their viability. Therefore, the Games are now limited to 13,000 athletes, 33 different sports and just under 400 events.

Until the 1980s, the Modern Games were only for amateur athletes who could receive no monetary rewards for their victories. Today those old amateur rules are gone and the Games are truly for the best athletes in the world, many of whom earn millions from their Olympic victories. Indeed, and almost without exception, the Olympic Games are the world’s best tests of the world’s best athletes.

The Games became the world’s greatest sports competition for many reasons. No other sports competition comes close to involving athletes from 200 different countries. The Olympics bring youth from all over the world together in competitions involving the broadest possible range of sports. This has extraordinary appeal to youth because there is almost always one Olympic event where each person has the possibility of excelling. Similarly, the Games have great appeal to spectators because they present so many different sports with so many engaging young athletes from so many nations.

How are the Olympics Governed?

The world governing body of the Olympics is the IOC. The IOC elects its own members from among world sports leaders. The 107 current OC members include representatives from just about every sport except futsal.

Dr. Thomas Bach from Germany, a 1976 Olympic gold medalist in fencing, was elected IOC President in 2013. To further the Olympic movement and govern it, the IOC recognizes one National Olympic Committee (NOC) in every country and one International Federation (IF) to govern are reported to have spent over $50 billion preparing each Olympic sport. The USA NOC is the U. S. Olympic Committee. The IOC also recognizes Continental Sports Organizations that govern multi-sport competitions like the Pan American Games and Asian Games. Every country also has a National Federation (NF) or National Governing Body (NGB) for each Olympic sport. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the world governing body for Paralympic sports.

How are the Olympics Organized?

The IOC selects each Games host city seven years in advance from among several cities that have spent millions and years preparing their bids to become Olympic hosts. Every Olympic host city must create a massive organization with a complex of venues for the different sports. Russia and its President Vladimir Putin Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games.

Every Olympic host city establishes an Olympic Organizing Committee that must hire a staff of professional sports administrators and recruit thousands of volunteers to conduct all aspects of the Games. The IOC and its Olympic Organizing Committees must also pay for the Games. Television agreements are a leading revenue source. NBC, for example, is paying $4.4 billion for exclusive U. S. rights for the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Winter and Summer Games. Major sources of revenue are sponsors and ticket sales. Governments are sometimes major supporters. The Russian government has been a primary funding source for the 2014 Games, but when the Games were held in the USA in 1984, 1996 and 2002, no government funding was available.

The IOC decides which sports are on the program. To keep the Games relevant to modern demands, the IOC conducts intensive reviews after every Games to evaluate the history and tradition, universality, popularity, governance, athlete safeguards, athlete development, technical evolution, fairness and finances of each sport. IOC policy is to drop one of the 28 summer sports out of the program and add one new sport every four years.

In addition to controlling which sports are in the Games, the IOC strictly controls the number of events in each sport, the number of athletes who may participate and what athletes must do to qualify.