“It was a milestone moment.” – Part 1: Dave Payne’s story here.
I continued my talk with Dave Payne, about his development of the game in New Zealand. He shared some interesting insight into how the game has grown in New Zealand and why they’ve become a case of best practice for countries around the world wanting to develop futsal.
The futsal system in New Zealand
Currently the bidding process is still underway so what we don’t know is if we’ve won the bid, but what I do know is what we’ve developed here is a world class system of futsal development. The College Futsal Programme is a good example of the system we’ve developed where events such as the secondary schools national tournament doesn’t just have the best players from schools playing, but the best student organisers, coaches and referees will come too. The holistic approach.
New Zealand certainly doesn’t currently see itself as a Brazil, Spain or Argentina type developed futsal nation, but when it comes to a nation that as emerged on the futsal scene establishing a strong foundation with results to back it, we have something to offer emerging nations. In my opinion what the world needs at the moment is a proven futsal system that’s sustainable.
If we win the bid legacy programme of sharing best practice starts that minute.
It’s not just about New Zealand hosting the world cup. It’s about taking responsibility and working with FIFA to assist emerging and developing futsal nations to take the sport to the next level. Working together and taking futsal forward is what the FIFA Futsal World Cup truly stands for.
The futsal community in New Zealand is so strong. From the leadership style put in place we have guiding principles where we place people first and the sport first. It’s not about us, it’s nothing personal and it’s not about egos. I’ve tried to lead from the front where I’m visible and our staff take the same approach. The benefit from this approach is that people are always willing to give back. In futsal, we made it quite clear from the start: if we want to see futsal succeed we need to work together. This is a shared vision.
It’s very humbling how much people put into the sport, and it is one big family in New Zealand as it is around much of the world. I just went to Colombia and met up with the guys I hadn’t seen since the last world cup, it’s always like a family reunion of distant relatives.
Every key influencer in futsal is working feverishly in the background, everyone is putting so much of their life on hold for futsal and it’s a big part of their lives. They’ll go the extra mile because they know they have such a passionate community underneath them and they owe it to them to push it forward. This community is futsal’s greatest weapon in the armoury. If those in a position to influence futsal look after the community first than the community will look after futsal.
New Zealand Football Youth Framework
The [recently released] New Zealand Youth Framework is 50/50 between traditional football and futsal for 13-18 year olds. You can do one, you can do the other, or both. We’ve realised now, especially in the youth phase that futsal is a massive part of football as a whole now which can’t be ignored. It’s asked for not prescribed so you have to make opportunities for all.
If you’re going to sell futsal integration to a member association, you can’t just stand there and say “it’s a great sport”, be passionate and say it develops great skills. The first conversations are with the CEOs, the right people having those conversations and having a plan outlining key milestones towards a goal. Then from an organisational perspective you are making good business sense by offering another product to meet market demand, much like Coca Cola and the move to sugarless or large supermarkets to organic products. Futsal’s short, sharp ease of play make up fits perfectly with today’s time constrained, fast paced action hungry society. Futsal is a product with a real pathway and it makes a lot of sense. You just need the right person to explain the benefits of it.
I liken it to women’s football. If you’ve got an initiative that need specific attention, you need to have specialists. If you want to grow it you need people who are visionaries that evolve with futsal with passion and good knowledge to drive forward.
Our aim is to become a developed futsal nation. We want to see ourselves at the as a leading nation. To achieve a developed futsal nation you need to build the workforce, a national structure, a regional structure, and underneath that the local structure – the clubs and schools. The full cycle development system.
It’s got to the point now that you can’t ignore it, you can’t get away from it. Anyone who says there’s no benefit from it… that’s just untrue. You just go down to a hall and see a 13-year-old with a giant smile on their face and just getting pure enjoyment from playing with their mates. Taking a break from technology for 30-40 minutes and walking away physically and socially fulfilled.
If a technical expert says there’s no benefit to football, fine that’s their opinion. But to say there’s no benefit, then they’re wrong. Even if it’s not the type of round ball they want them to be kicking, they’re still part of our sport. Ultimately the market decides and they’re louder than ever asking for more options.
The growing pains is that it’s a sport within a sport. It’ the fastest growing sport in secondary schools. As it develops it’s hard to work out where it all fits. Do you separate or integrate? That’s something we have to work through and I believe it has to be integrated. You have to have a culture where everyone in the business understands that it’s just as important as football. You must treat it as you would anything else, it’s not a secondary product and we give it as much respect as everything else.
If we host the World Cup, what’s next?
Futsal is fast paced, action packed and progressive. The reality is we’re working in a sport full of energy with underdog status, always striving to succeed. The world cup is a catalyst to assist the growth and success of futsal both in NZ and worldwide. Establishing professional leagues around the world in developing nations that directly link to community activation is one crucial aspect to driving growth.
I can see myself providing guidance to other countries and other people about how they can take the seed of futsal and grow it into a legacy. Futsal will always be my key passion. I’ll always be involved with futsal.
It’s an addiction but addictions can be deadly. You need to keep a clear head and you can’t let passion make decisions for you. They’ve got to be sound decisions. You realise pretty quickly; it’s a learning thing. I’ve made bad decisions based on passion before. You need to take a step back and look through the eyes of who you are pitching to. Once you’ve made the decision with a clear head and worked through a process, you can then let passion drive you to success.
It’s great to see from this chat with you now; just to see how true and real you are to the reasons you first got involved all those years ago on Sydenham Street. Good luck for the bid!