While the A-League is expected to return within the next month or so, it is unlikely that we will experience the ‘full’ version of Australian football straight away.
Many smaller community participation sports, as with the bigger mainstream codes, are suffering the negative effects created by the coronavirus pandemic and futsal is among those feeling the impact.
Futsal Oz operates out of three main stadiums in and around Melbourne in Victoria. Over recent months, the organisation has had to close the doors of all three of those stadiums, doors but CEO Peter Parthimos has assured fans online that Futsal Oz will return.
“Futsal Oz and Series Futsal will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will continue to communicate any changes as the COVID-19 situation evolves via the Futsal Oz website as well as our social media pages… we will be back 100 per cent,” he said.
Parthimos’ passion for the game is enormous and his plan from the beginning has been clear. He set up the organisation in such a way as to allow for no debt, in case as a crisis like this was ever to occur. This planning has ultimately helped him to develop Futsal Oz to its current success.
Having developed a crisis plan that allows the owners and management to keep improving the organisation while avoiding debt, Futsal Oz has been able to stay afloat during this the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak and hasn’t had to rely on sponsors for support.
Parthimos believes having an emergency plan for survival is a necessity in running a good business.
“Having no debt has allowed us to continue to grow our multi-media platforms and stay afloat during tough times,” he said.
With no return date set, Futsal Oz staff are doing a lot behind the scenes to get their media platforms looking sharp. The media staff continue to publish highlights on the social media accounts to keep fans involved and excited for when they are allowed to return to the sport and the stadiums.
This hiatus from live sport has also given them more time to develop and improve their WeFroth app. Media manager and player Jimmy Soufis highlighted the positives from the current situation such as injury recovery and extra fitness training time for the players.
“This crisis allows for players to freshen up… every player plays with little niggles and injuries,” he said.
“For me personally, I’m able to get more strength training and running in the body, which wouldn’t normally happen, as there is a short turnaround between seasons.”
Futsal is a sport that continues to grow and develop, taking the Victorian indoor sporting world by storm. Since 2006, it has expanded to three stadiums: Brunswick, Mount Evelyn and Thomastown. Thomastown is home to Series Futsal men’s, women’s and junior elite competitions and leagues.
The return of Futsal is eagerly awaited by coaches, players and fans alike, but one question remains without an answer: when will play resume?
While other codes in Australia are trying to find quarantine hubs as well as a potential return date, Parthimos is more guarded.
“We will return when it is safe for us, our players and fans,” he said. “We keep monitoring the situation and listening to medical experts… But we can’t wait.”