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Gibraltar women’s futsal on brink of disappearing

Gibraltar women’s futsal has taken a blow this past season as it sees its opportunities diminish as the focus is turned to the eleven-a-side.
With the women’s national senior eleven-a-side now focusing their preparations towards their expected introduction into competitive international football, reports have emerged from within the women’s camp that players have been asked to concentrate on playing either one or the other sport.
Players, with the possible risk of losing the opportunity of being selected for the senior team, opting towards the eleven-a-side, and leaving behind futsal. With most of the women’s futsal squad that last played in the Euros preliminary qualifiers in 2022 playing eleven-a-side football, and the women’s futsal league also not having been played this year, the development of a women’s national futsal squad is described as being impossible. The small pool of players presently practising the sport both in the eleven-a-side and futsal together still being significantly small means that there is presently not enough players from which to develop futsal.
Already the first indication of Gibraltar’s departure from futsal was seen at the end of May when UEFA announced the teams that will be playing in the newly launched Futsal World Cup.
With the new tournament now moving the Euro qualifiers to a four year basis, in the same way as the men’s format which sees the World Cup qualifiers played in between, Gibraltar next potential participation in a tournament will not be until after the World Cup qualifiers which take place next year.
UEFA’s list of qualifying contenders include 25 teams from the 55 member nations. Gibraltar among the ones not listed.
The Main round for the Women’s World Cup qualifiers will see the group winners qualify for the elite round. The groups named as follows on May 30.

Group 1: Italy, Croatia, Serbia (hosts), Lithuania
Group 2: Hungary, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina (hosts), Norway
Group 3: Ukraine, Czechia (hosts), Northern Ireland, France
Group 4: Finland, Slovenia, Moldova (hosts), England
Group 5: Sweden (hosts), Belgium, Slovakia, Latvia
Group 6 (hosts TBC): Poland, Netherlands, Kazakhstan
Elite round (draw on 31 October, matches 18 to 23 March)
• The eight teams, including Portugal and Spain, are drawn into two groups of four.
• The top two in each group qualify for the finals.
With the World Cup announced UEFA also announce changes to the UEFA Women’s Futsal EURO.
This is to expand to have an eight-team final tournament, held every four years, to follow the introduction of a FIFA Futsal Women’s World Cup.
Since the first edition in 2019, Women’s Futsal EURO has concluded with a four-team knockout event held every two years. With the new 16-team World Cup to begin in 2025 the EURO format is to change, with the first eight-nation showpiece in 2027, as decided by the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Hamburg.
Qualifying for the first World Cup will begin in 2024, with the regulations and format to be confirmed shortly. Qualifying for the next EURO will run in 2026, with the regulations and format for the tournament to be confirmed at a later date.
The teams that will be involved in the Euros have yet to be announced, with no official indication on whether Gibraltar will be among those playing.
Gibraltar last played in the preliminary round of the women’s futsal euros in 2022 where they lost 4-2 against eventual group winners Slovakia. Drew 3-3 against Moldova and lost their final match in an exhilarating 4-6 victory for Belgium.
With the pool of players reduced following the new policies introduced in which players have been asked to decide on one format or the other by selectors for the eleven-a-side, the development of futsal has been placed at risk.
The small pool of women players in the game focusing their attention towards the potential prospects of participating in the Nations League in 2025, which Gibraltar FA officials indicated could be a possibility after the controversy over their decision not to submit a team for the last Nations League.
With a similar format to the men’s UEFA Nations League, the 51 participating teams were divided into three leagues (two of 16 and the other of 19) on the basis of their positions in the UEFA women’s national team coefficient rankings issued after the conclusion of the group stage of the UEFA European Qualifying Competition for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
They were then drawn into groups within their leagues.
The league stage determined which four teams progressed to the finals (which also acted as Europe’s 2024 Olympic qualifiers) and also promotion and relegation between the leagues ahead of the European Qualifiers phase for UEFA Women’s EURO 2025.
Gibraltar is expected to be named as one of the new teams to be added to the 51 already playing. This potentially the first official international competitive tournament for women’s football at senior level on the eleven-a-side stage.
Any decision which sees Gibraltar excluded from the 2025 Nations League would in effect only leave the Women’s U19s competing competitively, with Gibraltar already left out from the futsal World Cup qualifiers and no other competition either in futsal or eleven-aside until the following year.

UEFA qualifying contenders for FIFA Women’s World Cup
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Northern Ireland

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