Cusco: it would be cool to get beach soccer back to Moscow downtown!

BSWW Vice President Joan Cusco talks about the development strategy of world beach soccer in the upcoming years.

Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup 2018 in Dubai presented a lot of bright matches. Game between Russia and Brazil in semifinal will most certainly be included in the golden collection of this sport. The stadium was full in the majority of late night games. BSRussia talked about the success of this tournament with BSWW Vice President Joan Cusco, who told us about the future of world beach soccer. 

- Mr. Cusco, congratulations on the successful end of the international season. Could you sum it up for us?

- It was an important season, because we had a large number of competitions. We have done a lot of work to improve the quality of women's beach soccer. But at the same time we had keep next year in mind, because it will be even more intense. So we can say that we had double responsibility. We are ready for everything that is going to happen in 2019.

- Are you satisfied with the fact that Paraguay will host the next World Cup?

- I think this is good news for beach soccer. South America is one of the catalysts for the development of our sport. There is a huge potential. Of course, we could organize this tournament in Brazil, and success would be guaranteed, but we decided to expand the horizons. Moreover, Paraguay was a host of a great qualifying tournament in the presence of a large number of fans.

- What do you expect from this tournament?

- Everything is perfectly organized in Paraguay. There will be a permanent stadium that will be used for the South American Olympic Games. This means that beach soccer will be represented there. At the same time, it’s great that Europe got the fifth place at the World Cup. There is no doubt that Europe deserves it. I was against giving Europe only 4 spots. 5 teams from Europe is surely a positive moment.

- Was it tough t to convince FIFA that it is necessary to make the World Cup every 2 years? And can we expect the next World Cup in 2021?

- Unfortunately, I'm not the only one makes the call. But I can assure you that my colleagues and I will do everything to make the World Cup take place in 2021. I think it would be sensible to hold it either in Europe or in Asia. Europe has already made a serious bid for this.

- Russia plans to host World Cup qualifiers in 2019. Everyone remembers wonderful tournament on Poklonnaya Hill in Moscow. But now all beach soccer events are held very far from the city center. What location in Moscow do you like more?

- Obviously, it would be cool to get beach soccer back to Moscow downtown. We all remember how many people attended our event back then. I remember amazing city views. It was a perfect place. In general, beach soccer has gained popularity in Russia, so that it would be interesting to do something similar in the future.

- Next season will be so intense that Kristall and Lokomotiv players, for example, will play around 80 games in total. It turns out that they will play every second day. How realistic is this?

- I’m sure they can handle it. The big advantage of beach soccer is that we play on sand. It minimizes the risk of the injury. Of course, injuries still happen, you can’t avoid it, but in general, I don’t see a huge problem here.

And unlike big football we have the opportunity to rest some players during the game. In beach soccer you do not need to be ready to play 90 minutes in full display. We depend on the weather, which makes our season very short. Obviously you need to fit a lot of competition it it. At the same time, we are well aware that one of our tasks is to protect players from heavy injuries. 

- We now have indoor stadiums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. What is the status of the Moscow Cup? There was a lot of talking about it.

- We need to trust the real actions but not the rumours. We hold tournaments only in case there is support from the federation. But if we talk about indoor tournaments in general, we need to find a way to attract people to such stadiums and make show out of it. I believe that such projects have bright future.

- What do you think about launching a tournament like Europa League in big football? 

- We have been working with national teams for more than 15 years, but we have just started working with clubs in beach soccer. Everything is still in process. I think we need three years to make a good calendar for clubs. We also need the support from the clubs themselves. Nothing is going to happen if they are not interested in it. 

- Intercontinental Cup showed that the stadium in Dubai can not accommodate everyone. There were people waiting outside because there was no room at the stands, Are there any plans to increase the capacity of the arena in Emirates?

- Of course, we saw the queues in front of the arena and we are aware of what is happening. But after all, not all games had 100 percent attendance. There were a lot of empty seats at some of the Spain or UAE games for instance. Anyways, I agree that the stadium should be bigger, and we will work on that. 

- Are you satisfied with the nominees for the awards ceremony? Are you planning on asking fans to vote in the future?

- At the moment, I think the current voting format is the best. Perhaps in the future we will revise the voting system. If we use social networks again, those who have more friends and subscribers are going to win. We analyzed this and decided that this was the wrong approach.

- But the truth is that in 21st century the world is run by social networks and other electronic sources of information. Are you planning to do a nomination for the best media in the future, for example? Could it be worth holding media forums to promote a product called “beach soccer”?

- Obviously, we want our community to grow and develop. But at the same time there should be a systematic approach to make it all look good. I am ready to say “yes” to all of your questions. Everything that will make sense in terms of the development of beach soccer will be applied.