History

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Early Years    
 
Minifootball or small sided soccer, as a game, is at least as old, or probably even older, than 11-a-side soccer. From the 1860’s amateur and then professional soccer clubs used small sided soccer in a competitive way as training for their 11-a-side matches. This practice continues up to the current day.

 
1960's  
 
In the 1960’s there were round-robin tournaments in sports facilities across Ireland, these mainly being played in indoor sports halls.



 
1970's  
  The early 1970’s saw the prevalence of 5-a-side competitions, some of which were played on grass, but these were mainly junior competitions. In mainland Europe, where the term ‘Minifootball’ had always been used to describe small sided soccer, the first organised leagues were established in the early 1970’s

 
1990's    
 
As all weather pitches improved throughout the late 1990’s and into the turn of the new century and with the development of new playing surfaces, 5-a-side, and later 6-a-side leagues became more prevalent and began developing rapidly.


 
2000's    
 
At the dawn of the new millennium more countries began to form their own leagues on a national level and also to inaugurate a new federation.



 
2010's    
  In 2010 a group of Eastern European countries organised the first ‘European Minfootball Championships’ which were won by Romania. In 2012, with the recognition of minifootball as a separate sport to 11-a-side soccer, a European governing body for minifootball was established with the remit to encourage European countries to establish their own governing bodies for minifootball and in September 2012 the European Minifootball Championships featured 16 participating teams and attracted over £1 million worth of sponsorship.

 
Today    
 
Today it is estimated there are approximately 30,000 people playing in competitive small sided leagues weekly in Ireland and in total 50,000 people playing some sort of small sided soccer throughout the winter season. Ireland still boasts one of the largest number of minifootball players and is currently one of the very few sports in Ireland whose participation rates continue to increase.