FIFA has given permission for one of Europe's strongest domestic futsal competitions, the Russian Super League, to experiment with lengthening each half from 20 minutes to 25 in the 2009/10 season.
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When the 2009/10 Russian Super League season begins on 5 September, former UEFA Futsal Cup winners MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg and MFK Dinamo Moskva will be part of an experiment that could transform the sport, as FIFA has given permission for one of Europe's strongest domestic competitions to experiment with lengthening each half from 20 minutes to 25.
Football Union of Russia president Vitaly Mutko made the request in a letter to FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke, the proposal connected to the fact that clubs currently have as much as eight hours' travelling for one 40-minute game, now the league will no longer consist of double-headers. He added that the duration of a futsal game is shorter than similar indoor sports like basketball, handball and ice hockey, and quoted surveys showing that fans are keen to spend longer at matches than the 90 to 100 minutes they currently last, including stoppages and half-time.
The experiment will last for one season and FIFA has requested reports on its impact. This season's UEFA Futsal Cup, which begins on 17 August with Ekaterinburg representing Russia from the Elite round in November, will continue to be played with 20-minute halves, as will the 2010 UEFA European Futsal Championship final tournament from 19 to 30 January in Hungary.