YOUNGSTERS in York will soon be given the chance to show off their football skills and try out futsal thanks to funding from the Football Association.

In June, The FA made £300,000 available to County Football Associations, FA-affiliated clubs, youth and adult football leagues who wished to develop either one or two new futsal leagues, as they ramped up efforts to encourage more people to play the sport in England.

The scheme, delivered by the Football Foundation, awarded grants of £1,500 to applicants per league created, with money being used towards associated costs of facility hire, equipment, referees and FA-affiliated courses.

York City Football Club Foundation is receiving £3,000 over two years, and has used the funding to create two development futsal leagues for under 8s and 9s, which start on Wednesday.

Futsal is the UEFA and FIFA recognised format of five-a-side football but it differs from the version that we know in this country. It is played on a firm indoor pitch, with hockey sized goals. It is played to lines rather than walls or boards and the ball differs in being slightly smaller and with a reduced bounce.

Taken together these differences lead to a game that is fast, skilful and tactical. For these reason futsal is being adopted as a game in its own right as well as useful development experience for young footballers.

A number of football’s biggest names credit futsal as playing a significant role in their professional football development, with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi Hernandez and Ronaldinho having all played the sport in their younger years.

Foundation manager Paula Stainton said: “We started our futsal journey over three years ago, and have shown our commitment to the development of the game in its own right with various initiatives. We are delighted to be able to offer two development leagues with this funding for under 8s and under 9s, which is an ideal age for boys and girls to be trying futsal and so we are encouraging local grassroots clubs to see the benefits of getting involved especially over the coming winter months and providing an opportunity to expand their players horizons.

“We are also delighted to be able to maintain our excellent relationship with our wider football family locally with their support for the leagues: North Riding County FA, City of York Girls Football League, and York and Ryedale Mitchell Sports Football League.”

To register email or call 01904 559508.