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Intercontinental Futsal League

What is the background of the WFF Intercontinental Futsal League?  (WFFIFL)

The rejuvenation of national futsal representation– and the WFF Intercontinental Futsal League – stems from the desire of the World Futsal Federation and its continental member associations to improve the quality and standing of national team futsal. The World Futsal Federation and its associations want more meaningful events, with associations, coaches, players and supporters of the opinion that friendly matches are not providing adequate competition for national teams. In addition, with the costs of traveling a national team, it seems unlikely that a friendly makes sense at all.

Extensive consultation and discussions started as far back as the 2012 WFF Strategy Meeting in Phoenix Arizona and continued at a series of meetings over the following years via social media networks. The WFF Intercontinental Futsal League was adopted to be introduced in 2020.

The World Futsal Federation believes strongly that it is possible to create a World Futsal League based on the confederations already in place around the world. The WFF Intercontinental Futsal League will be the flagship for this mission. In 2020 we begin working with members of the International Olympic Committee IOC, to unify continental federations, partners and stake holders.  

What is the basic format?

  • The format of the WFF Intercontinental Futsal League features promotion and relegation. The national teams will be divided into four leagues in accordance with the WFF's national association coefficient rankings at the end of the 2019 domestic and international results will help with the inaugural edition.
  • League A includes the top-ranked sides and League D includes the lowest.
  • The composition of the various groups for the 2020/21 edition will be decided by a draw in early 2020 of all the registered national programs.
  • Leagues A, B and C will eventually feature 16 teams each while there are seven teams in League D, as of the 2020/21 edition.
  • With the introduction of the new league structure, two League C teams will be relegated to League D for the third edition of the competition in 2022/23. Those two teams will be determined by play-offs (home and away), to be played between the four fourth-ranked teams from each League C group.

When will the WFF Intercontinental Futsal League take place?

The WFF Intercontinental Futsal League will take place as follows:

League Phase draw: 1 March 2020, the WFF Confederations of North, Central and South America, will begin play in 2020 to officially inaugurate the league. It is expected that Europe, Africa, and Asia will follow suit. Every time a futsal friendly takes place under a sanctioned confederation or association of the World Futsal Federation, it will be considered an event sanctioned by the WFF Intercontinental Futsal League.

How are the overall WFF Intercontinental Futsal League rankings calculated?

Eventually within leagues A, B, C and D, the overall ranking will be calculated based on position in the group then points, goal difference, goals scored, away goals scored, wins, away wins, disciplinary points, coefficient ranking. In Group D, results against the fourth-placed team are not considered for the purposes of comparing the teams placed first, second and third in their respective group.

What are the advantages for national associations and teams?

The World Futsal Federation feels that friendly international events are not providing adequate sporting competition. The WFF Intercontinental Futsal League creates more meaningful and competitive matches for teams and a dedicated calendar and structure for national team futsal.

Top teams can also aspire to take part in the WFF Intercontinental Futsal League Finals, a top-level event which would launch the World Futsal Federation’s first World Cup event in 2021.

Lower-ranking countries who have struggled against sides ranked considerably higher than them will now get the chance to take part in balanced matches.

While the WFF Intercontinental Futsal League will now replace all friendly internationals, there will still be space in the calendar for friendlies.

What are the advantages for supporters?

Supporters more than most realize that most friendlies fail to deliver competitive and meaningful futsal. Now they will have the opportunity to see their teams play in more competitive matches.

In every even year there are World Cup or Continental champions; now in every odd year there will be a WFF Intercontinental Futsal League, League winner. Futsal is about competition and now, just like in club futsal, there will be a national team champion at the close of every season.

Will this mean more demands on players and clubs?

No: the WFF Intercontinental Futsal League and European Qualifiers will adhere to the existing agreed international match calendar. The World Futsal Federation is always keen to preserve the balance between club and international futsal. The competition should, in fact, reduce demands on players and clubs with less travel envisaged for friendly games while national teams will be playing more consistently at their own level.

Is this just about generating more revenue?

No, finances are not a driver for the new competition. However, the competition will have the same centralized media rights as have recently been introduced, now all associations will have even more stability in their income.

Will there be no more friendly internationals?

There will certainly be fewer friendly internationals and undoubtedly fewer meaningless friendlies. However, there is still space in the calendar for friendly internationals – particularly warm-up matches for final tournaments. The World Futsal Federation is also keen that teams will still have the chance to play opponents from other confederations if they choose.

The World Futsal Federation wants to see more internationals taking place, and with this new league, we will be able to better serve the futsal community with solid platforms to help the increasingly demand of international futsal.

The peace of mind knowing that the World Futsal Federation and all the associations are unified working for the same goals, will give a sense of comfort to possible sponsors and legitimate stake holders.