By James Crook

107511490March 12 - The Bahamas will become the first Caribbean nation to host the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifying event, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Beach Soccer Championship on May 8-12 this year.

The winner and runners-up of the tournament, which will be held at the recently opened beach soccer facility in Bahamian capital Nassau, will go on to qualify for the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which is due to be held in To'ata Stadium in Papeete, Tahiti, from September 18-28.

"We are excited to host the regional qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in The Bahamas," said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb.

"This rapidly growing sport is of particular relevance for the Caribbean region, given its pristine beach setting and idyllic weather.

"We are certain this niche will soon become the region's staple."

The CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship has been held six times, hosted in Mexico on four occasions, while Costa Rica and Rio De Janiero have staged the event once each.

124718443Russia are the current holder of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, defeating Brazil in the final in 2011

"The Bahamas Football Association is indeed pleased and honored to have been chosen as the hosts for this year's Qualifier for CONCACAF," said Anton Sealey, President of the Bahamas Football Association.

"We are looking forward to hosting our confederation colleagues at our newly built facility located at Malcolm Park in Nassau on the Island of New Providence.

"As the first member in the Caribbean to host the event, we are looking forward to a greater number of participants from the Caribbean, taking advantage of the fact that the competition is being held in the Caribbean.

"This we hope will result in more of our Caribbean colleagues promoting this exciting brand of football in their respective associations."

Beach Soccer Worldwide chief Joan Cusco also spoke of the ambition to develop the sport in the Caribbean.

"Taking the World Cup Qualifier to the Caribbean was a necessary step to take," she said

"There's a huge beach soccer potential in the region and that was the right moment to make it happen.

"The Bahamas is a great example of this, as they built an excellent permanent stadium thus proving a strong commitment with the sport and the possibilities it offers."

Malcolm Park NassauMalcolm Park in Nassau will host the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship in May

Mexico are the current holders of the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship, after they defeated El Salvador 5-3 on home sand to take the title in 2011.

The current holders of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup are Russia, who defeated 13-time champions Brazil 12-8 in the final in Ravenna, Italy, to win their first ever title.

Full details regarding the CONCACAF teams participating in the 2013 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship, as well as the official match schedule, will be announced on a later date.

Contact the writer of this story [email protected]

Related stories:
November 2012:
"We're on the waiting list for the Olympics" says Blatter after futsal World Cup