A sport that has been practised in the country for the last eight years, futsal has now been accepted under the umbrella of the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB).
Initially played mainly by youngsters, futsal has long been considered an essential component of the technical education programme run by the regional associations' youth academies in Austria.
Indeed, an unofficial Austrian championship, launched in November 2006, has been staged a total of four times, generating huge interest. It is therefore no surprise that futsal, which originated in South America and was adopted by FIFA as a new sport in 1989, has been formally adopted by the ÖFB.
In November the nine-team first division and 12-club second tier of the ÖFB futsal league were inaugurated. A total of 140 matches will be played in the two leagues, with around 500 players already registered.
The ÖFB's futsal coordinator, Markus Kopecky, and grassroots football director, Stefan Gogg, are in charge of administering the ÖFB futsal league, as well as futsal coordination activities with UEFA and FIFA.
At the ÖFB, all futsal-related matters fall under the jurisdiction of the sports department – led by sports director Willi Ruttensteiner – where, among others, Gerhard Gerstenmayer is responsible for futsal refereeing and Thomas Janeschitz for basic and further coach education.
The two divisions of the ÖFB futsal league contain teams from eight of the nine Austrian provinces, including eight sides from the capital Vienna.
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