Futsal is the new Black
The 2010 UEFA European Futsal Championship will be played on an innovative black pitch which has received the thumbs up from players.
Last week’s UEFA Futsal Cup Main round Group 1 mini-tournament at the Fönix Arena in Debrecen, one of two Hungarian venues for the EURO finals in January, was played on the new surface developed by UEFA’s partner Mondo. Coming through the mini-tournament were Italian champions Luparense Calcio A5 and Ukrainian titleholders FC Time Lviv, both boasting several players who should be in their respective nations’ squads for the finals – indeed the two countries meet in Group B at this venue on 23 January.
Lviv’s Ukrainian international Il’Dar Makayev told uefa.com: “I had no problems with the pitch – when the lights are shining down on it it didn’t seem black. It was good to play on.” Italy’s Vampeta, who scored eight goals in Luparense’s concluding 10-0 defeat of home side MVFC Berettyóújfalu, added: “The black pitch here is better than many others I’ve played on because it is easier to pass the ball. I hope to play on it again at the European Championship.”
Team-mate Humberto Honorio said: “The black pitch was very good, better than normal; the colour makes the ball stand out so it helps us with our vision. The only thing I would say is the pitch could do with being swept after every match to take away the dust. The European Championship here in January would be my first major tournament with the Italian national team so I will work extra hard to be there.”
UEFA futsal competition manager Laurent Morel was pleased with the response to the distinctive surface. “The idea behind the black pitch is that we are trying to position the game of futsal better in a very crowded marketplace,” he said. “To meet the challenge we needed something completely new, where no one had been before – a break from tradition. We were aware of the risks, as is the case whenever you break with tradition. Some people might be shocked at first glance, of course, but the fact that people are talking about it is already a positive sign for us. The impact is very nice and our partner Mondo has supported us in our choice, confirming that we were the first to opt for a black pitch in an indoor major continental event. We have some adjustments to be made with the lighting angle to avoid reflection and a grey effect, but the overall look is totally satisfactory in our view.”