Well… what is it?
As those students lucky enough to be awarded a reading week embark on a week away from lectures, seminars and the daily struggle of trying to find an available computer in the Learning Commons, why not start your week off with a trip to watch a sport that you may not have been lucky enough to have seen live before, or maybe not even heard about before! Despite the rich history Manchester can boast through both City and United, it’s time to ditch the football and turn your attention to Futsal, in particular Manchester Futsal Club.
Photo: Simon Wright
Established in April 2006, Manchester Futsal Club compete in the highest level of English futsal and have won the FA Futsal Cup and FA National Futsal League in consecutive seasons 2013/14 and 2014/15. Unlike Manuel Pellegrini and Louis Van Gaal’s football sides, with Futsal there is no need to take sides since the team, who play in blue and white, represent the whole city of Manchester in a competitive division of eight teams featuring the likes of Loughborough, Nottingham University and Sheffield FC Futsal Club. And this weekend’s home match sees Manchester Futsal Club pitted against rivals Carlisle Futsal Club, in what looks to be a highly competitive match between the two sides.
How do I get there?
Manchester Futsal Club play all of their home matches at the National Cycling Centre at SportCity. Although not visible from the main road, the venue is situated just before the large ASDA and is very heavily signposted around The Etihad and Sportcity campus.
So how can I get there to watch Manchester Futsal club in action? Compared to some of our other recommended sporting events and activities, your journey to the National Cycling Centre is relatively straightforward and is only three miles away from the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union. For those wanting to catch the bus, the 216 bus leaves from Stop D in Piccadilly Gardens and stops at The Etihad Campus, leaving only a short walk over the road to the National Cycling Centre. Meanwhile if you’ve had enough of getting the bus up and down Oxford Road after your first 5/6 weeks back in Manchester, you can always take in the sights of Manchester en route to the National Cycling Centre on the MetroLink from Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens. Should you wish to catch the tram, make sure to get off at the ‘Velopark’ stop—the nearest to the National Cycling Centre with trams running to and from Velopark every 12 – 15 minutes.
But how much does it cost to get in?
At long last, an event that has a student budget in mind! Yes that’s right, Manchester Futsal Club do in fact offer a reduced rate for students for all of their home games at the Manchester Velodrome. With valid student identification, University of Manchester students can purchase tickets online or on the door for £2.50—bargain!
What are the facilities like?
Admittedly, there isn’t a great deal to say about the National Cycling Centre that hasn’t already been covered by our second instalment of Sport in the City, highlighting the size, scale and facilities offered by the impressive cycling complex. So we thought it would actually be better to give you an insight into how the sport is played. Whilst football can be played either outdoors or indoors, futsal is always played on a flat indoor pitch, with hockey sized goals and a much heavier ball that is size four and sports a reduced bounce. This ensures that skilful, technical and more creative play is encouraged, rather than the traditional characteristic of physical contact, which is a common element of general indoor football.
Tell me something I didn’t already know…
Futsal is actually the fastest growing indoor sport in the world, and such a small-sided football format is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA. The name itself was chosen by FIFA through a highly complex, internal decision-making system, as is common throughout the federation. By simply combining the Spanish word for ‘hall’ (Sala) and ‘football’ (futból), Futsal was born and has since continued to grow into the phenomena that it is today. Also, despite its many differences with football, ranging from the way it is played to its individual rules and regulations, household names from within World Football such as Pele, Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi all credit futsal with aiding their development at a young age, in helping them to become the football players that they were and are today.
Finally, when can I see this in action?
Manchester Futsal Club take on Carlisle in their second home game in consecutive weeks on Sunday 1st November, so if you’re around, head down and show some support to something a little different to City or United!
If you have any requests for local teams, sports or events taking place in Manchester, or if you wish to be involved, please contact: [email protected].