Matt Le Tissier backing Exeter City and Flybe schools futsal cup
Club sponsors Flybe have joined forces with Exeter City to launch a local schools futsal competition.
Due to kick off in March, the tournament will be open to children in Years 3 and 4 (Under 9) attending schools in Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon and North Devon and is expected to generate interest from more than 30 schools.
The competition is also being supported by former Southampton and England star Matt le Tissier, one of Flybe's sporting ambassadors, who is expected to attend some of the schools competitions next year.
Simon Lilley, Flybe's director of marketing, said: "This is part of our ongoing work with the club at grass roots level, with the aim of helping the club find the next young star, and give local children the chance to experience a new twist on our great game."
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Futsal is the only form of indoor football approved by FIFA, UEFA and the FA and is currently played by more than two million players worldwide. Played with a smaller, heavier ball, futsal rewards good technique and game intelligence and has been the style of football that has produced dozens of South American and European superstars like Lionel Messi, Kaka and Cesc Fabregas.
Exeter City FC's Football in the Community Trust is leading the promotion of Futsal in Exeter, already running a Futsal Education scholarship for Year 11 and 12 school leavers and recently launching new Futsal sessions for juniors and adults.
Launching the Flybe Futsal Cup with pupils from Willowbrook School in Exeter, Jamie Vittles, Exeter City FC's Football in the Community Trust manager, said: "Futsal places a huge emphasis on technical skill and ability, which makes it an excellent way to develop football techniques that can be translated into the 11-a-side game. Promoting Futsal across the country is part of the FA's National Game Strategy and I'm delighted that we can support that by running the Flybe Futsal Competition."
Matt le Tissier added: "Flybe's continued investment into grass roots football is a valuable contribution to finding tomorrows stars, and I look forward to seeing some young stars in the Flybe Futsal events in the new year."
Mr Lilley added: "Flybe's support for Exeter City goes way beyond simply putting the brand on the shirt. In launching the Flybe Futsal Cup, we hope we can not only give youngsters a chance to play an exciting form of the game and who knows, might unearth the next Liam Sercombe, Dean Moxey or Ronaldo!"