The keys to the indoor football division: Garcia repeats the plan 37 years later

The rivalry between Garcia and Gozalo's teams already sank futsal in the 80s
The Mayor of Torrejón de Ardoz, Ignacio Vázquez, and the Councillor for Sports, José Miguel Martín Criado, together with José María García, founder of Movistar Inter FS

 -   The Mayor of Torrejón de Ardoz, Ignacio Vázquez, and the Councillor for Sports, José Miguel Martín Criado, together with José María García, founder of Movistar Inter FS

Indoor football came to Spain in the late 1970s. It soon aroused the interest of fans and local tournaments were created and became more and more competent until it became attractive to institutions. The RFEF gave futsal some shelter with its own competition and the Spanish High Council of sports (CSD) and the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) eventually recognised it as a sport through the usual bureaucratic twists and turns.  

José María García and José Manuel Gozalo were the journalists who put the media spotlight on indoor football. A visionary Garcia greased Interviu's green machine Hora XXV in 1977. Orange "butane" shirt and black trousers. Gozalo cemented Union Sport with everything he had as RNE's (Spanish radio station) sports director. The war was atrocious between García and Gozalo. Two born winners who moved their power to have the best players of the moment in their squads. The journalist of Hora XXV was 9 of Interviú but he knew how to convince Amancio Amaro, José Luis Peinado, Carlos Goyanes or Armando Ufarte to join his sport when they hung up their boots. Gozalo also played and in his team there were names like José Ángel de la Casa or Jesús Álvarez. Years later, players like Aurelio Gómez Araujo "Yeyo", the craftsman who shaped modern indoor football and the first president of the LNFS (the premier professional indoor football league), arrived.  

Defeat at Magariños 

The rivalry was such that Garcia's bad loss caused him to pull his team out of the competition with the 82-83 league going on. Does that ring a bell? The journalist saw himself unable to beat Union Sport and promoted the departure of several clubs from the federative umbrella to join the Spanish Indoor Football Federation (FEFS) and a parallel league where he had no enemies. It was in a high-tension match in a packed hall of the Polideportivo Antonio Magariños in Madrid that Interviú lost 0-1 to Union Sport. The failed Juanito witnessed that day Garcia did not accept the defeat and caused the split. It should be added that the competition that Interviú played was organized by the federation presided over by Pablo Porta, the intimate enemy of the journalist who night after night attacked him with the famous "Pablo, Pablito, Pablete" jingle. By the way, Interviú was not able to win the other league either and lost in the final against Panderías Virgili's team from Cádiz.  

Inter Movistar

Mauro and Garcia

The court battle was very long and cut short the sport's take-off. Meanwhile, the competition continued with the organization of the RFEF and in 1984 Toledart appeared on the scene. A team from Toledo that had in its ranks the Brazilian Mauro. That year Toledart were runners-up in the league and put Garcia to the test. The chronicles of the time say that Mauro "left Toledo in strange circumstances". Indoor football at the time is convinced that José María García was behind those circumstances. In the first round of the following season, Interviú had been humiliated in the Salto del Caballo stadium (renamed Javier Lozano stadium years later). When Christmas came, Mauro went to Brazil and did not return to play the second round. He returned the following season to join the ranks of Interviú and be one of the first players in the sport who was able to fill pavilions with his presence. Masterful play of the master Garcia.   

While Gozalo and Garcia settled their rivalry on the airwaves, the bureaucracy continued to take its course. In 1986 the CSD registered the FEFS in the National Register of Sports Associations and Federations after a violent five-day lockdown of the federation's directors at the headquarters of the Superior Sports Council. Months later, the COE would admit the futsal federation as a full member. And even the Supreme Court recognized its existence. Futsal was divided to become weaker.  

Inter Movistar

The Ermita Marathon 

José Luis Roca arrived at the RFEF where he was followed by Gozalo, Porta's pupil and at the service of putting a spoke in the wheels of futsal. Such was the asphyxiation that the RFEF managed to remove futsal from the register of sports federations so that it would lose its subsidies.  

Neither the federations nor the players' associations did their part to unite futsal. The spark jumped in a marathon in the facilities of the Ermita del Santo in Madrid organized by "Yeyo", already retired from futsal. Teams from both sides were going to play and he had the blessing of García and Gozalo. It would be televised by TVE thanks to the mediation of José Ángel De la Casa and they even managed to unify the two regulations to give it seriousness. Three days before the tournament, a mysterious character of indoor football appears, Antonio Alberca. President of the FEFS and friend of García. He conspired to muddy the agreements by dirtying the name of the organizer who was forced to suspend the marathon.  

Inter Movistar

Between Villar and Havelange 

That day the clubs, fed up with the situation, began to move and created a committee with teams from both competitions. They wanted to play together over bodies and personal confrontations. They knocked on the doors of Rafael Cortés Elvira's Sports Department and Javier Gómez-Navarro's CSD. They also told the problems of indoor football to a newcomer Angel Maria Villar who gave them all kinds of facilities and help.  

In 1988, Joao Havelange, FIFA President from 1974 to 1998, expressly asked Spain to solve the problem of futsal. Gómez-Navarro told the press at the time that he " couldn't promise any results. It's a complicated task" but he set to work. With the intermediation of the CSD and in spite of the obstacles of the FEFS it was possible to join the futsal in Spain. This is how the National Indoor Football League was formed, which was from 1989 to 1990 without belonging to any federation. A figure out of the legality but that allowed expressly Cortés Elvira to avoid further bloodshed. With the signed peace, the LNFS decides for the RFEF as the safest organism to give coverage to the futsal. In that agreement the LNFS was in charge of everything related to its sport: committees, appeals, sanctions, referees... even proposed the appointment of Javier Lozano as national coach to replace Felipe Ojeda "Trona". A decision they kept when García called Lozano to train Interviú. The adventure lasted a few months and his return to the national team proved more productive.   

A decade later, the effort of the clubs was reflected at international level by winning two World Cups. García was able to tell the story of Guatemala's 2000 World Cup in Onda Cero radio station, standing up, microphone in hand, narrating from the studio, even though he had a journalist in the Guatemala City Dome as a witness to the 4-3 victory over Brazil. Interestingly enough, the LNFS began to lose their futsal competitions to the federation that year.

José María García is still the alma mater of Movistar Inter, their best revulsive in the dressing rooms. But he is also the driving force behind the new change of direction in futsal. Thirty-seven years ago his macabre idea ended up slowing down a growing sport. Now he can throw away the last three decades of work of all clubs to return to a troubled past and uncertain future. The years go by and the enemy of futsal is still futsal.