The beach team are currently preparing for the Bang Saen International Soccer Match in Pattaya, Thailand but the future of English beach soccer is much closer to home. In creating a 2,400-seater stadium adjacent to the pier, the Skegness Beach Stadium Ltd claims it could attract 400,000 spectators a year.
Chief executive Gary Shepherd said: “This is an opportunity for Skegness to bring in an exciting new business within the Olympic sports legacy, create new jobs and serve as a long-term driver of economic growth. This is Skegness’ chance to begin capturing major international sporting events, especially during what is typically our slow hotel season – as the season will run from April through to late October.”
It’s a bit odd to jump on the Olympic legacy bandwagon considering that beach soccer isn’t an Olympic event and the more recognised version of football seems to be far removed from the Olympic spirit these days, but it is undoubtedly a perfect opportunity to enhance the sport’s reputation in this country.
The head of the EBSL, Dave Jones, added: “This is a really exciting time for Beach Soccer in England. The opportunity to have the use of a proper stadium facility to train, host national [events] and international matches will definitely raise the profile of the sport in this country.” He then added “There already is increased interest from new areas, both seaside and urban based, to be part of this year’s National Tour. The opportunity to qualify for the National Championships and therefore play in this magnificent stadium should excite everyone.”
England have already had a taste of what Skegness can offer, playing them in the town’s first ever beach soccer match earlier this month before their trip to Thailand. Should the proposal go ahead, it would also become the training site for the national side and become the FA’s new beach soccer centre.