From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Beach Soccer is a variant of the sport of association football. The game itself is played on beaches, and emphasises skill, agility and goals.
Whilst football has been played informally on the beach for years, the introduction of beach soccer was an attempt to codify rules for the game. This was done in 1992 by the founders of Beach Soccer Worldwide, a company set to develop beach soccer and responsible for the majority of its tournaments to this day.
The irregularity of the soft-sand playing surface leads to a style of play where players must improvise. The compact pitch (measuring 28x37 metres) allows players to score from anywhere. This leads to high scoring games, with an average of sixty attempts at goal in a single game, with an average scoring rate of one goal every 3-4 minutes — eleven goals in total per game.
Beach Soccer started in Brazil and has grown to be an international game. The participation of internationally renowned players such as flamboyant Frenchman Éric Cantona, legendary Spanish strikers Michel and Julio Salinas and Brazilian stars such as Romario, Júnior and Zico has helped to expand television coverage to large audiences in over 170 countries worldwide, making Beach Soccer one of the fastest growing professional sports in the world and converting it into a major showcase for international commercial opportunity.
Beach Soccer had been played recreationally all over the world for many years and in many different formats. In 1992 the laws of the game were envisioned and a pilot event staged by the founding partners of BSWW in Los Angeles. The following summer, the first professional beach soccer competition was organized at Miami Beach, with teams from the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Italy taking part.
In April 1994 the first event to be covered by network television transmissions was held on the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro and the city hosted the inaugural Beach Soccer World Championship one year later. The competition was won by the host nation, making Brazil the first ever World Champions of Beach Soccer. The success of the tournament saw commercial interest begin to match developments on the pitch and growing demand for the sport around the world gave rise to the Pro Beach Soccer Tour in 1996.
The first Pro Beach Soccer Tour included a total of 60 games in two years across South America, Europe, Asia and the United States, attracting major names both on and off the pitch. Interest generated by the tour in Europe led to the creation of the European Pro Beach Soccer League in 1998, providing a solid infrastructure that would increase the professionalism of the spectacle on all levels. The EPBSL, now known as the Euro BS League, united promoters from across the continent and satisfied the demands of the media, sponsors and fans. Only four years on from its creation, the successful first step in the building of a legitimate Worldwide Competition Structure for the sport of Pro Beach Soccer had been taken.
Behind the scenes key developments were also taking place, with the Beach Soccer Company relocating its headquarters to Europe, firstly to Monaco and then Barcelona, before becoming Pro Beach Soccer, S.L. in April 2000. One year later they would join forces with Octagon Koch Tavares, who had continued to organise the World Championships and events in South America, to form a single entity known as Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW), with the aim of unifying all major Pro Beach Soccer tournaments in the world under the same structure and providing sole representation of the sport to major sponsors, the media and FIFA.
The EPBSL was also flourishing, with a nail-biting 2000 season decided in the closing match of the final tournament when Spain beat Portugal in an intense encounter. The Americas League also took shape, with teams entered from North and South America, whilst the Pro Beach Soccer Tour extended its horizons to the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Mexico, Greece, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom.
The next four years would see this growth consolidated by further progress both on and off the pitch, with the EPBSL emerging as the strongest Pro Beach Soccer competition in the world. By 2004, some seventeen nations had entered teams, with this number expected to rise to over twenty for the Euro BS League in 2005, contributing to vastly expanded television coverage of the series and unprecedented demand from promoters in more than seventy countries looking to stage events.
Such interest has allowed BSWW to strike major sponsorship deals with internationally renowned companies including McDonalds, Coca-Cola and MasterCard, who stepped up their involvement in 2004 and are now title sponsors of the Euro BS League. Recognition has also come from FIFA, who have cited BSWW as the major entity behind the creation and growth of Beach Soccer, forming a highly promising partnership that will see the first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup take place in Brazil in May 2005.
Each team consists of five players (four plus the goalkeeper) and unlimited substitutions (from a selection of 3 to 5 extra players) to get them through the three 12-minute periods. Throw-ins and kick-ins mean the pace and flow of the game is high. Every beach soccer match has a winner, with the contest going down to three minutes of overtime with golden goal rules, followed by penalty kicks if the score is still tied. Unlike in association football, penalty kicks are decided by sudden death rules.
Two referees officiate the match. Any fouls committed lead to a free kick on goal, which has to be taken by the player who was fouled (unless awarded for handball). Blue cards can be issued, forcing the offending player to leave the game for two minutes whilst his team plays on with one less player.
Further rules include:
- Shoes are not allowed, although ankle guards are permitted.
- Throw-ins are taken from the side lines, and can be taken with either hands or foot.
- Goal kicks are taken by the goalie using his hands.
In international competition, the pitch is composed entirely of sand and is cleared of pebbles and sea-shells, along with any other object which could injure a player.
The pitch must be rectangular in shape, and the touch line must be longer than the goal line.
- Length: 35-37m (38.2-40.4 yds)
- Width: 26-28m (28.4-30.6 yds)
The penalty area is within 9m (9.8 yds) of the goals, and is marked by a yellow flag situatued in touch.
- FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
- Pro Beach Soccer Tour
- Euro Beach Soccer League
- CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship
- California Beach Soccer Tour
- Laws of the Game at FIFA