This week sees the UEFA Futsal EURO commence in the Netherlands. For the first time, 16 teams will battle it out to be crowned the kings of Europe
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Ahead of the big kick-off, we hear from UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin and his Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) counterpart, Just Spee, who look ahead to a mouth-watering tournament.
Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president
"I am delighted to welcome you to the UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 final tournament. We are all looking forward with great anticipation to a memorable and entertaining event in the Netherlands.
"The latest Futsal EURO, which will be staged at two impressive arenas, in Amsterdam and Groningen, is a special occasion because it is the first to feature 16 teams, and also the first to take place under the new four-year rhythm for the finals. These changes mean that more national associations and players will have the opportunity to perform on a privileged international platform.
"Futsal’s status and appeal has grown considerably – the result of a new strategy implemented by UEFA that is designed to increase the sport’s profile and exposure at all levels.
"UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 promises to set fresh benchmarks and create new records as the best players on the continent strive for excellence in their search for a prestigious European title.
"Our thanks go to the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), which has vast experience in hosting major events of this calibre. We hope that the teams will enjoy their stay in the Netherlands, and that the tournament will give us much to remember. Enjoy the action!"
Just Spee, KNVB president
"Welcome to the Netherlands, welcome to the land of the masters. A new canvas presents itself. A podium for up-and-coming artists so to speak: UEFA Futsal EURO 2022.
"We welcome the 16 participating nations to the biggest UEFA European Futsal Championship ever. We welcome their dreams, their skills, their talent. We welcome them to the stage that will attract eyeballs from all around the world to watch the highest level of futsal there is.
"The 1989 FIFA Futsal World Cup took place in the Netherlands, so it is a long time since we last organised a futsal final tournament. We are honoured to be hosting the European Futsal Championship for the first time and I am convinced that UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 will be a true spectacle.
"It is also important for me to say how pleased I am to have this international event in our country. Futsal does not stand alone. It feeds the roots of our football. It is this branch of football that really connects with urban youth throughout Europe. It is the discipline that is very easily accessible to a large group of fans. Futsal has a positive influence on our football as a whole, which is why I am pleased that we, as the Netherlands, as the KNVB, can contribute to its further development and legacy.
"On behalf of the entire local organising committee and the KNVB, I want to thank everybody involved in this event, in the Netherlands and in the rest of Europe. Enjoy the artists of futsal. We hope to inspire you!"Futsal EURO: the full guide