The MLSZ (Hungarian Football Federation) beach soccer department will, in 2016, continue the same work which in recent years has characterised beach soccer at home and abroad: the aim is professional, organisational and infrastructural development, increased recognition at home and abroad, as well as the introduction of many new professional innovations.
According to Hungarian Football Federation, the main event in 2016 for the sport will be the EBSL tournament being held at the MLSZ Beach Aréna in Siófok between 5-8 August, with the difference that based upon recent years’ organisational experience the international federation has now entrusted Hungary with the hosting of their biggest event, in which 16 countries will participate. The aims are for the event to be successful from an organisational perspective and for the Hungarian national team to qualify for Division A.
Two years ago, the Hungarian federation was the first among the BSWW countries to organise an U20 national team. The international federation reacted positively to this initiative which – in part down to the BSWW suggestion – many other countries have since implemented. Hungary will also be hosting a tournament at this age level for the first time this summer, again in Siófok, with Poland, England, Romania and Hungary participating.
The domestic youth set-up is undergoing substantial development and organisational restructuring. For one, the new domestic set-up has, thanks to the success of the past two years, attracted more teams. U15, U17 and U19 levels will not just have semi-finals and finals this year, but also regional qualifying tournaments for the first time. The age-group finals will also be held at the MLSZ Beach Aréna in Siófok as part of the senior championship programme.
The mlsz.hu said, early in 2016 the Hungarian Student Sports Federation and the MLSZ will sign, as a result of the previous two years’ work, a contract to collaborate with each other. The MLSZ Beach Soccer department will, from now on, not just participate at at the Beach Soccer Student Olympics as a professional partner and one which provides the facilities, but will also at the behest of the MDSZ organise the Student Olympic competitions for the IV, V and VI age groups. It is important to note that all of the licences (e.g. results-based school programme plus points) will remain in place.
Meanwhile, preparations for the FIFA bids for the current period are ongoing – in harmony with the FIFA Beach Soccer Development Programme. This affects the training system for domestic match officials, organisational, infrastructural and facility development possibilities. This last one may well be important due to the national beach soccer pitch construction programme. Naturally, a number of agreements with FIFA and BSWW leaders preceded the preparation of the bids. At the end of 2015 the MLSZ Beach Soccer department gave popular presentations at events such as the FIFA WorkShop in Dubai.
The strategic plan will cover a three-year period and is built on three pillars. The first is the strengthening of the youth system in the sport and increase in the number of teams. The second is the strengthening of the professional background, which is built upon the development of coaches’ training courses, international relations and match-official training courses. The third pillar is the development of beach soccer infrastructure (pitches, clubs, and regional centres). Should we reach the targeted advancement in these three areas, the goal of the Hungarian national team to perform successfully in World Cup qualifying during 2018 ahead of the 2019 tournament, could be realistic.
Some of last year’s achievements:
– 2015, which brought many important successes in the sport, has ensured a good foundation for all this work.
– With its participation in the annual Winners Cup in 2015, Hungarian champions Goldwinn Pluss came 6th out of 24 entrants.
– The Hungarian national team, thanks to its results in 2014, took part in the European Games held in Baku under the auspices of the European Olympic Committee, where beach soccer became the most popular, most-watched sport and officially became a member of the Olympic family. The Hungarian team came 7th, behind the current world champions, world- and European rankings leaders.
– The municipality of Siófok, ‘capital city of summer’, has concluded a three- + two-year strategic agreement with the MLSZ, thanks to which the largest town on the shores of Lake Balaton has committed itself to long-term involvement in beach soccer.
– The 12 participating national teams openly praised the organisation of the EBSL tournament.
– The national team came agonisingly close at the EBSL Super Final (European Championship final) to qualifying for Division A.
– The Hungarian championship saw an increase in the number of participants and palpable increase in standard, the Federation holding one round in Hódmezővásárhely in order to popularize the sport there. In the end, Energia SC Gyöngyös, with many internationally-renowned stars in their ranks, became champions.
– Besides the three youth championships (U15, U17 and U19), the number of Student Olympic teams also grew, close on 100 teams participating in our competitions.
– With the U20 national team’s formation and its place directly next to the national team, it is not by accident that in the squad of 15 for the senior team, four players aged 18 or under, gained match experience in the full senior side.
– 2015 saw the Hungarian national team reach its highest ever ranking: 7th in the European rankings and 20th in the World rankings.