Game on as Fife business kicks off Futsal franchise across Scotland

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A Fife-business is helping nearly 400 children learn a form of football, known as Futsal, which shaped the skills of some of the world’s most famous players including Messi, Pele, Ronaldo and Neymar. 

Now, Futsal Escocia has transformed its successful training programme into a franchise and has secured its first full-franchise academy in Ayrshire. It will also launch a pilot scheme in Inverness in May. A pilot scheme is already underway in Glasgow.

Set up in 2015 by former professional footballer Russell Taylor as a hobby, after gaining advice from Business Gateway Fife, Futsal Escocia (the trading name of Futsal El Mundo Limited) created a ‘Developing the Player’ coaching programme that focuses on technical skill and ability. The programme provides boys and girls aged five to 17 with the chance to play the small-sided football game that originated in South America in the 1930s. 

With the current turnover hitting £85k (2016/2017), Russell, who played for both Raith Rovers and Dunfermline, predicts that figure will continue to steadily rise as more franchises come on board and he launches the El Niño’s programme, a futsal programme for three to five-year-olds, after the summer.

He said: “Interest in futsal is on the rise, and I am fielding enquiries for potential franchises from throughout Scotland, however, the location and the coach have to be right. Because the vast majority of coaches involved in youth sport have full-time jobs, I initially offer a pilot franchise that reduces the financial outlay and risk. This provides franchisees with access to equipment, coaching programmes and the use of the Futsal Escocia brand name and images. I also help them with sourcing and booking suitable venues, advertising and promotion. Once participant numbers increase and they see the programme is working, the franchisees are then able to consider taking on the full franchise, and that is exactly what happened in Ayrshire.”

He added: “Because I have no background in business I turned to Business Gateway Fife for help. The support I’ve had has helped enormously; from working with a financial and accountancy adviser to decide the best operational model to sitting down with franchise experts to pick the best route to take long-term. After taking the DigitalHealth check online, my adviser has also helped me secure support through DigitalBoost and highlighted potential funding both of which will help me restructure my website and potentially launch a parent app.”

Fraser McKee, Business Adviser, said: “Russell has used our advice to put structures in place to help him manage the growing interest in his academy model. Because his offering now includes training, franchises, birthday parties, futsal leagues and a shop, our most recent support through DigitalBoost, which is funded by Digital Scotland, aims to help him set up a more functional and responsive website that will help him as he looks to push his model, including his new El Niño’s programme, throughout the UK.”

By initially volunteering and taking football training sessions when his son became of an age to play, Russell, who stays in Rosyth, discovered a passion for coaching kids and learnt about Futsal whilst watching the ‘World’s Greatest’ on Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. 

After undertaking research into the sport he launched Futsal Escocia as a hobby to run in his spare time, kicking off with just 16 children in one season at Inverkeithing High School in 2015. Today, 200 youngsters take part in 15 sessions spread across six locations in Fife (Inverkeithing, Methil, Dunfermline, Cowdenbeath, Glenrothes) with a further 100 children playing in Ayrshire and 60 in Glasgow.

He said: “Futsal is played with a smaller and slightly heavier ball than five-a-side football on a hard court surface and, similar to 11-aside football, you play to the lines of the court or pitch. This structure makes players think and play at a faster rate. Our coaching programmes teach children to take responsibility for how they play rather than waiting for a coach to dictate their every move. By developing that thought process, we create more intelligent players. Futsal will not only help them improve their skills, it will also translate into an improvement in their 11-aside game.” 

Find out how Business Gateway Fife can help your business by visiting their local pages or by calling 01592 858 366.

Outwith this area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.

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