Beach Football is now officially a part of the official calendar of competitions offered by the Cayman Islands Football Association following a three day FIFA Course applied by two FIFA instructors to beach football referees and coaches last week.
The two FIFA instructors who conducted the course were Roberto Celiliano (Brazil) and Massimo Raveino (Tahiti). It was done ahead of a launch of a series of local and international competitions this summer.
The focus for the coaches was on effective training methods and tactical knowledge while for the referees the focal point was on the interpretation and the implementation of the laws.
The theory was held at UCCI while the physical side was done at Royal Palms, the CIFA official beach football venue. Attending these courses were 13 referees and 15 coaches supported by 11 footballers.
CIFA president Jeffrey Webb was impressed by the turn out and is optimistic that this new development will not only bring more activities to the football calendar but will have immense impact on sports tourism given the location of the venue and its popularity.
“I am tremendously impressed by the response from the participants and the rigorous agendas covered during the short period of time,” Webb said. “This is a testimony to the impact it will have on sports tourism.
“In addition, Royal Palms is a land mark in Grand Cayman, attracting both local and foreign patrons. I am certain CIFA will have no regrets in undertaking beach football as a new development for the men and women who will be taking part in this sport whether as players coaches or referees.”
CIFA decided to include beach football in the association’s calendar due to the rise in popularity of the game and its exciting opportunities for the Caribbean and the Cayman Islands.
Beach football originated in Brazil and the rules were created by Beach Soccer Worldwide. The sport has seen a dramatic rise in popularity over the past ten years, culminating in the introduction of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
Combining speed, creativity, spectacular acrobatic goals and a celebration of the beach lifestyle, the inaugural Pro Beach Soccer Tour in 1996 included 60 games across Europe, Asia and the USA, and attracted major names both on and off the pitch.
Beach football officially joined the FIFA family in 2005 with the first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Despite being upset in the initial tournament by eventual runners-up Portugal, Brazil have won the last four titles and have exerted the same dominance on this format as they have shown in regular football.
Beach football is distinctly different to regular football. Teams consist of only five players – four outfield and the keeper – and, due to the small size of the field, games are fast-moving and high scoring.
Games regularly feature upwards of ten goals, with the majority of goals scored within four or five passes. There is an emphasis on acrobatic goals, with spectacular volleys and headers. Games are divided into three 12-minute periods and there are no draws – games are decided by extra time and/or penalties.
With the Cayman Islands’ international reputation for pristine beaches and world-class hospitality, it is a potential venue for future international tournaments.
Companies interested in sponsoring the CIFA Beach Football Programme are asked to contact Alastair Kay at the CIFA office at [email protected] or [email protected] or on 949-5775 for more information.