Foresight invests £3.25 million in @Futsal

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Foresight Group (“Foresight”), a leading alternative asset manager, announced today that it has completed a £3.25 million investment in @Futsal Limited, a facilities management company that provides indoor pitches for the football game Futsal, currently one of the fastest growing indoor sports in the world.

@Futsal Limited has been established to roll-out a chain of indoor football arenas across the UK, with the aim of opening 30 sites over the next four years.  Each @Futsal centre will offer multiple state-of-the-art pitches, for organised small sided football leagues, as well as for one-off rental, and will provide high quality catering and bar facilities and related retail outlets.

The investment by Foresight will provide @Futsal with the working capital to fund the rapid roll-out of arenas around the UK.  @Futsal’s first site, a three-pitch centre in Swindon, Wiltshire, which was funded by its management team, opens on the 24th January and the company has already identified the location of further sites planned for the coming year.

Futsal is the fastest growing indoor sport in the world, played by an estimated 30 million people globally, and is the only small sided football to be officially recognised by UEFA and FIFA.  Futsal is a relatively new concept in the UK, but is rapidly gaining momentum, with Sport England forecasting a 300-400% growth rate in the uptake of informal ‘small sided football’.   The sport is also gaining recognition amongst major sports brands and Nike has already agreed to an exclusive deal with @Futsal to sell clothing in the arenas.

The investment reunites Foresight with the former management team of Covion, a facilities management business backed by Foresight which was sold to Balfour Beatty in 2007 for £33 million.  Frank Rodriguez, @Futsal’s Managing Director, was a Founding Director of Covion and its Deputy Chairman throughout Foresight’s investment period.  Frank is also an FA and UEFA qualified football coach and an FA qualified Futsal coach and currently manages Reading women’s football team in the English premier League.  David Steventon, also a co-founder of Covion, will be @Futsal’s Non-Executive Chairman.

Chris Price, Investment Manager at Foresight, commented:
“The popularity of small sided football, and in particular Futsal, around the world, is a clear indication of the future potential for @Futsal in bringing this new leisure pursuit to the UK. The sport has a wide appeal, attracting organised mid-week leagues as well as more informal gatherings, and we believe that the provision of quality, dedicated Futsal arenas in major population catchments represents a significant growth opportunity. Having successfully backed the management team at Covion, we know they have what it takes to make @Futsal a success and we look forward to being part of this exciting business venture.”

Frank Rodriguez, @Futsal’s Managing Director added:
“As the fastest growing indoor sport in the world, recognised by the major football organisations and supported by leading sports brands globally, we have identified a strong opportunity in a high growth market.  By providing high quality, easily accessible facilities, we aim to make Futsal widely accessible to players of all ages and all levels of skill, and to really establish the sport in the UK market.  With backing from an experienced investor such as Foresight, combined with our existing expertise in facilities management and our passion for football, we believe that @Futsal has the right ingredients for success.”