09 Jan 2015
10 years is just the beginning...
Jérôme Valcke is FIFA Secretary General
It is an enormous satisfaction to have commemorated, this December, the tenth anniversary of the agreement between FIFA and BSWW, and the consequent incorporation of beach soccer to the FIFA community
During these 10 years, beach soccer has not only confirmed all the potential we saw in it, becoming a perfect FIFA flag bearer, but has also exceeded all expectations and accomplished landmarks we had not thought possible. And the best of it is yet to come: the growth potential of beach soccer is just limitless.
In the months before that agreement was signed, and even long before we began the conversations to make it happen, beach soccer had been already consistently knocking on FIFA's door. The sport and its popularity had already caught our attention, and was under thorough analysis for incorporation into FIFA's structure as a logical next step.
Beach soccer is a very pure version of football. A version in which fair play is evident. A version that offers fans with an appealing and exciting spectacle. There was no other option: it had to be a part of the FIFA community.
The conversations with the existing structure governing beach soccer, a group of devoted, enthusiastic and experienced professionals, led by Joan Cusco, were quick, smooth and encouraging. FIFA and Beach Soccer Worldwide shared the same interest, the same vision: the future of beach soccer was necessarily tied to the Member Associations. It was the only way to help the sport grow. That common belief triggered the decision: despite not being a part of any Member Association, Beach Soccer Worldwide had already demonstrated that beach soccer was very much a part of the football community.
Some months later, the first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup took place in the sport's birthplace, the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. That first showcase became a terrific success, at the time it began a history including six more FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups in three different continents, with the eighth coming next July.
But it was not only a matter of what beach soccer already was... It was more about what was on the horizon. FIFA saw in beach soccer an effective event builder; an exceptional platform to bring the FIFA community to unexplored parts of the World. This is why beach soccer was also quickly turned into a key part of FIFA Development's projects. Easy to transmit, easy to teach... and very easy to love.
The end of the road is nowhere close, if it even exists... The future is bright, and, in our plans, 10 years is nothing... 10 years is just the beginning...