Futsal to help welcome newcomers

28/08/2018 2:30 p.m.

The power of football and futsal as a tool for social development is well known. New Zealand Football is looking to harness this positively throughout the country’s diverse range of communities by introducing a new all-inclusive, fun futsal tournament and festival.

New Zealand Football has joined forces with the Ashburton District Council’s Welcoming Communities Coordinator, Immigration New Zealand (INZ), and Mainland Football to deliver the futsal tournament and festival in October, to foster connections between established locals and new arrivals in the area.

Futsal, meaning indoor football, is FIFA’s official five-a side indoor football (soccer) game and anyone can give it a go.

The event is part of INZ’s wider Welcoming Communities initiative, being piloted across the Ashburton District. It recognises that communities are healthier, happier, and more productive when newcomers are welcomed and able to participate fully in society and in the local economy.

“Our district has embraced Welcoming Communities and this event embodies what Welcoming Communities is all about,” says Ashburton Mayor, Donna Favel.

“It’s an exciting collaboration and fantastic opportunity for our communities to embrace diversity and think about other ways we can work together to create an even more welcoming and inclusive environment and reap the benefits which newcomers and migrants offer,” she adds.

The first of its kind, ‘Ashburton District Welcoming Communities Futsal Extravaganza’ kicks off on Saturday 13 October with a ‘Give-it-a-Go’ drop-in night from 5pm to 7pm, where youth and adults can learn about futsal and enjoy informal skills and games sessions. Some of New Zealand’s most talented futsal players and coaches will be present to lend a hand.

Sunday 14 October is a busy day with a junior skills clinic taking place from 9am to 10am before a junior team tournament runs from 10.30am to 12pm. A youth tournament then swings into action from 1pm to 3pm, before an adult tournament starts at 3pm and runs through to 4.30pm.

Local celebrities will also take part in a match with some of the region’s and the country’s best players from 4.30pm.

All members of the Ashburton District community are welcome to take part, either as participants, volunteers, business sponsors, or observers enjoying the event. The focus will be on having fun while playing the fast-paced, enjoyable game of futsal, while building relationships between all involved to help recent migrants, former refugees, international students, and other newcomers to the district feel welcome.

All futsal activities during the event are set to be held at the excellent EA Network Centre in Ashburton. There is no cost to participate.

This tournament is a pilot and key learnings will be used to inform future events New Zealand Football is planning in other parts of the country. Discussions are currently taking place with the Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council on similar soon-to-be-announced initiatives in those regions.

“This is a unique and fun way to introduce people to football or futsal, which ties in with our key strategic goal of more New Zealanders playing and loving the game,” says Dave Payne, Chief Operating Officer for New Zealand Football.

“But it also demonstrates New Zealand Football’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion – it takes the intent behind our new Diversity and Inclusion Plan and brings it to life in communities whilst helping Immigration New Zealand and Ashburton District Council reach their goals in the Welcoming Communities initiative. A shared love of sport, and in particular futsal, provides a perfect way to build bridges between local residents and newcomers to the region. I know our football clubs across the country are very much looking forward to the contribution newcomers will make to the growth and success of our sport,” he adds.

Registrations to take part in the Ashburton District Welcoming Communities Futsal Extravaganza are now open and you can sign up, either individually or as a team. Registration for activities close on Sunday 30 September.

To register for the futsal tournament activities, visit http://www.nzfootball.co.nz/GET-INVOLVED/Welcoming-Communities-Futsal

Anyone can play and no indoor football experience is necessary. You’ll need between six to 10 players per team and games will run for approximately 20 minutes.

Teams can be of mixed gender and age, a mix of newcomers, locals and ethnicities, combined business, family and friend teams, and they can dress up or even support a club or country.

For more information on the Welcoming Communities initiative please visit the website at www.wccanterbury.com

Page reviewed: 28 Aug 2018 3:37pm