The North West’s first dedicated futsal centre opens in Salford

We had the privilege of going along to the opening and seeing the next generation enjoy a kickabout.

Harry Quick Harry Quick - 13th February 2024

The North West has always been a hub for footballing talent and that reputation is only getting better here in Greater Manchester and Salford, specifically, through one of the sport’s best proving grounds: futsal.

Ordsall Leisure Centre is the new home of the state-of-the-art futsal facility SCL Arena, set to revolutionise the sport in the North West of England. Futsal has gained fast momentum in recent years and our region was due a new home for the sport.

For those that aren’t familiar with the game, futsal is a type of football played indoors on a much smaller, hardcourt pitch. It is also played with a smaller, harder ball that is less bouncy to encourage control, improvisation and technique.

Think almost the ‘joga bonito’ days, FIFA Street or Volta in the new ones, only there’s no bouncing the ball off the walls in futsal. Here’s a taster from our very own Manchester Futsal Club.

Now, thanks to a £190k grant from the Premier League, the FA (Football Association) and the Government Football Foundation (GFF), as well as an additional £127k from Salford Council, Manchester is now home to one of the best places to play futsal in the country.


The project also comes with the construction of new changing rooms and an educational space and a recent showcase event featured constant futsal action from academy players and a local primary school, with some truly fantastic talent on display.

Watching on was the CEO of the Manchester FA, Colin Bridgford who spoke of the importance of bringing the facility to Salford.


“It’s a great opportunity for Salford to have the first dedicated futsal centre. It’s been much needed and it gives people an opportunity to learn about the game.”

“Everyone plays football”, he continued; “Salford and Manchester are a hotbed for the sport but understanding the technique and the skill of futsal is so beneficial for young players.”

If you grew up in Salford or Greater Manchester playing the beautiful game, you’ll understand the struggles of finding a place to play.


If the ‘no ball games’ signs don’t throw a spanner in the way of a kickabout, the weather more than likely will — and that’s just for football.

In our not-so-tropical climate, futsal simply has to be played indoors so the opportunities to play around here have previously been limited.

The SCL Arena at Orsdall Leisure will not only be a place for sport to thrive but will serve as an inclusive hub for promoting and developing talent within the community and beyond.

The opening event was a great success.

“You can’t play it if you don’t have the facilities as we all know. The investment from the FA and the local authority of Salford have put into this has been fantastic.”

“You do need that place where you can just walk into an arena like this where the pitch is purpose-built and the markings are really clear.”


As you might expect, the game originated in South America in the 1930s and soon spread across the world. In countries like Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Portugal, young players are brought up on the sport with the world’s best footballing talent owing their skill to the small-sided game.

Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi began plying their trade on the futsal courts of Funchal and Rosario respectively. Maybe a future Ballon d’Or winner will forge their success in Ordsall Leisure Centre, you never know!

“It’s certainly a growing sport in England. If you look at it around Europe, particularly in Spain and Portugal, this is their day-to-day and that is where you get to see players working their way to the Premier League.”

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“What futsal does is keep the flow of the game and makes players think quicker, it’s not always about what is happening at your feet but what’s happening upstairs – it’s a really adaptive game.”

“The skills and technique certainly come from futsal so if we can create more technically minded individuals in England then the future holds well and this is a great place to start.”


If you’re a fan of a fast-paced game with action that can happen right up until the final whistle then futsal might be for you. But most importantly, it’s about getting up and active and now it’s possible to enjoy the game right on our doorstep.

Colin put it perfectly: “Irrespective of whatever game we play, whatever sport we play we do it for fun and what I’ve seen today is young people smiling, being active and having a great time!”

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Featured Images — The Manc Group/Manchester Futsal Club (via Instagram)/Supplied