The first-of-its-kind India’s first professional beach soccer championship by Mumbai-based TransStadia with the support of GFA and GFDC under Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW) will be held in Calangute from February 7-10.
The organisers, TransStadia, the knowledge-partners of GFDC, expect over 50 teams from across the country for the barefoot beach soccer event with teams divided into Pool A and Pool B having eight groups with four teams in each group. The group stage will also have two pools A and B. The two top teams in each group will move into knock-out round.
Matches will be played on 64×46 feet ground with the goal being 6.5×13 feet. Light balls weighing not more than 400g will be used, with players not allowed to use shoes, shin guards and bandanas. The winning team will get three points, there being no draws. If teams finish on same number of points, the placement will be decided on greater goal difference, followed by goals scored, lesser number of goals conceded, red cards, yellow cards and toss of coin.
A team will consist of 10 players (goalkeeper compulsoty) with five being substitutes. At group stage, matches will be played in three playing periods of seven minutes each with two minutes between each playing period. For knock-out rounds, there will be three playing periods of 10 minutes each with three minutes break between each playing period.
At international level however, the match lasts three equal periods of 12 minutes each and if the score is level after normal playing time, extra time of three minutes is played. The ball must weigh not less than 400 grams and not more than 440 grams at the start of the match.
A team can only pass the ball back to the goalkeeper once in entire game. Second time done, the referee will have the right to award a direct free kick. The match will be supervised by one referee.
The organizers have promised to rope in prominent players from Goa’s popular football clubs and other prominent teams from around the country. Four world-class pitches and a world-class arena will be set up to give spectators an exhilarating experience, using the T-Box modular stadia technology.
While the GFA stated it was delighted to be associated with the event, the GFDC congratulated the authorities in taking such pro-active steps towards the sport. Registration is free.
Beach soccer became a part of the FIFA family, and in May 2005, the first-ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was staged on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. To everyone's surprise, France defeated Portugal in the final, while hot favourites Brazil fell in the semis.
2009 saw the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was held in Dubai. The Middle East country proved ready to host such a big event, and it did with a great success. A 5,000 seat stadium was packed almost for every match, and beach soccer fans witnessed Brazilian victory for the fourth time in-a-row, seeing newcomers Switzerland lose the final. [H]