February 25 - Five-a-side indoor football, known as futsal, could be a good addition to the sports programme at the Commonwealth Games, it has been claimed by the Movement's leading official.
Calls are growing for the sport of football to be added at the Commonwealth Games, which has never featured since the multi-sport event first began in Hamilton, Canada, in 1930 as the British Empire Games.
But, given that staging football would provide Commonwealth Games host cities with large additional costs, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Prince Tunku Imran claims futsal could be a more realistic option for the event.
"The African countries want football to be played in the Games but the logistics and costs involved will be an obstacle," said Tunku.
"Futsal would be a better option as the number of players and officials per team is fewer and playing indoors also has its benefits.
"Futsal is also a very popular sport as well."
The word futsal is Portuguese and translates as "hall football" in English.
It was developed in Brazil and Uruguay in the 1930s due to the lack of available football fields.
FIFA has organised a men's Futsal World Cup since 1989, when it was held in Rotterdam and the winners were Brazil, the first of five victories in the tournament, including in Bangkok last year.
However, the CGF have confirmed to insidethegames that futsal could only be considered for the Commonwealth Games in 2022 at the earliest.
This is because the sports programme for the next two Games in Glasgow in 2014 and Gold Coast in 2018 have already been finalised.
If futsal is added for 2022, the CGF suggest that it would likely only be added as an "optional" sport rather than a core sport.
The sports programme for each Commonwealth Games, which is determined by the CGF, comprises of 10 sports which are athletics, aquatics (swimming only), badminton, boxing, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, squash, rugby sevens and weightlifting.
Athletics, aquatics, lawn bowls and power lifting are also the four core Para-Sports at the Commonwealth Games.
Host cities can then choose up to an additional seven sports from a list of optional disciplines.
The optional sports for the Commonwealth Games are archery, basketball, beach volleyball, canoeing, cycling, diving, gymnastics, judo, open water swimming, rowing, sailing, shooting, softball, synchronised Swimming, table tennis, tennis, tenpin bowling, taekwondo, triathlon and wrestling.
Futsal could well be added for this list, but will still miss out on Gold Coast 2018, who confirmed their sports programme earlier this month.
In addition to the 10 core sports, Gold Coast 2018 announced that they have chosen basketball, shooting, table tennis, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon and wrestling as their optional sports.
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