Boris Shipunov: BFL — European level league

Boris Shipunov is the Pres­id­ent of the Baltic Fut­sal League who shared his opin­ion about his pro­ject: the days of form­a­tion have led to a period of growth that is still going on des­pite all the obvi­ous obstacles that the entire sports world have faced.

— Let’s start with the issues of the cur­rent moment: how does the Baltic Fut­sal League live today with all the uncer­tainty and lack of guar­an­tees regard­ing start period of any com­pet­i­tion?

— Indeed, we are the third in line to draw up a rhythmic cal­en­dar. UEFA has already presen­ted a sched­ule for the European Cup tour­na­ments for the next sea­son, but some National Fut­sal Federa­tions from the coun­tries par­ti­cip­at­ing in the BFL are still in the cal­en­dar-exe­cu­tion stage. Our pos­i­tion has long been voiced and well known: we accept the superi­or­ity of the sched­ules and cal­en­dars of national and inter­n­a­tional tour­na­ments over the BFL cal­en­dar, which means that until we receive all the dates of games in the domestic cham­pi­on­ships, we will not start agree­ing on the sched­ules of our games.

— When will this hap­pen?

— I hope that this week we will begin to agree on the format of the BFL games for the 2020/21 sea­son.

— Has the start time already been determ­ined?

— We moved the start of our second sea­son from Octo­ber to Decem­ber 2020 due to the coronavirus emer­gency, which also pre­ven­ted us from com­plet­ing the first sea­son six months ago. We are well aware that the national cham­pi­on­ships will there­fore have a very tight autumn cal­en­dar, that’s why we are ready to start later and fin­ish later.

— The first sea­son was stopped in March when the com­pet­i­tion was in full swing. How can you char­ac­ter­ize these 4 months for the Baltic Fut­sal League?

— I can describe not only 4 months, but the entire period up to the present day. We have been con­stantly mov­ing for­ward since the cre­a­tion of the BFL. After the real fut­sal has been closed, we were the first in the world to hold vir­tual fut­sal tour­na­ments — we inven­ted and organ­ized an eSports league, which has a great future ahead. As a new and more advanced ver­sion of the FIFA VOLTA-21 sim­u­lator is released, we are look­ing for­ward to the European level of our tour­na­ments.

— Cyber­fut­sal is a sep­ar­ate topic for dis­cus­sion. For now I would like to hear the pre­vail­ing opin­ion about real fut­sal regard­ing the work of the BFL.

— The assess­ment is very simple: time has shown that the play­ers wish to play in our League, and the audi­ence wishes to watch them. How it could be bet­ter? Moreover, the audi­ence of the entire Baltic Fut­sal Com­munity is grow­ing. We are sat­is­fied. I believe the League is work­ing quite pro­fes­sion­ally. Of course, there is always a room for improve­ment, some­thing to add and more goals to achieve, so the BFL organ­iz­ing com­mit­tee is already work­ing on the imple­ment­a­tion of innova­tions.

— What needs to be improved in the interac­tion between the League and the clubs for the second sea­son of the BFL?

— Clubs are oblig­at­ory par­ti­cipants in the pro­cess of cre­at­ing a product that is able to spark interest amongst view­ers, part­n­ers and moreover among the ath­letes. The par­ti­cipants of the first sea­son have already accep­ted this idea. Now it is neces­sary to move on and improve the work, for example, by rais­ing the press ser­vices of each club. More inform­a­tion means more atten­tion. Every­one will bene­fit from this. And the man­age­ment board of the League even this day has a clear view of the future dir­ec­tions for the growth of both the sport and organ­iz­a­tional com­pon­ents, because the clubs are already express­ing interest in devel­op­ment. All together we are a great force that will give a boost to the devel­op­ment of the sport in the Nor­dic coun­tries.

— What is the pos­i­tion of the heads of the clubs regard­ing the cur­rent situ­a­tion around the dis­cus­sion of the dates for the BFL matches?

— As for dis­cuss­ing the cal­en­dar for the 2020/21 sea­son, the main thing I found out is that every­one pos­it­ively assessed each other’s desire to over­come organ­iz­a­tional dif­fi­culties and expressed their read­i­ness to fol­low the reg­u­la­tions that the League developed for the 2020/21 sea­son. Moreover, the heads of the clubs are ready to take over part of the nego­ti­a­tion pro­cess with their federa­tions con­cern­ing the coordin­a­tion of their own uni­form game load, tak­ing into account the BFL cal­en­dar. And believe me, this is worth a lot.

Valery Chu­machenko
PR Dir­ector of Baltic Fut­sal Mar­ket­ing

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