Perth Youth Futsal has a new sponsor for the club’s highly successful brand of five-a-side football. LPG specialists AvantiGas have signed up as kit sponsors to the adult first team, PYF Saltires. The Saltires play in the National Super League and won last year’s Scottish Cup.

Futsal is a variant of association football played on a hard court, smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. This increasingly popular form of the sport made its UK debut in Perth in the 1990s and in Scotland it has grown to the stage where the Under-17 Football World Cup was held in Dundee in 2017.

AvantiGas is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of LPG and energy solutions, serving businesses and homes in Scotland, England and Wales. The company also sponsors sports clubs and charitable causes in areas stretching from Scotland to Cornwall.

Futsal is a variant of association football played on a hard court, smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. This increasingly popular form of the sport made its UK debut in Perth in the 1990s and in Scotland it has grown to the stage where the Under-17 Football World Cup was held in Dundee in 2017.

AvantiGas is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of LPG and energy solutions, serving businesses and homes in Scotland, England and Wales. The company also sponsors sports clubs and charitable causes in areas stretching from Scotland to Cornwall.

Kyle Ballingall, 22, the player-coach who is Head of Perth Youth Futsal said sponsorship was increasingly important to the sport’s continuing development: Futsal is really growing, especially in Scotland with the new National Super League, but you see it in the whole of Britain.

“The new league format means we’re travelling all over Scotland now whereas it used to be just based in two areas. Now we’re traveling every second week to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee sometimes – so sponsors are more crucial than ever because travel costs have gone up.”

Bringing on young players who can graduate to the adult team is a key feature of the club: “We’ve focused a lot on the youth so have been playing a lot of young players of 16 and 17 in the National League and we’re reaping the benefits now.

“We won the Scottish Cup last year and we’ve just signed two players who have played for Scotland as well, so it’s becoming a bit of an attraction to play for us. That’s what we were trying to achieve.

“We wanted to create a club structure – that was the long-term goal, rather than just creating a team.”

AvantiGas has sponsored the first team in a two-year deal. AvantiGas Communications Executive Graham Keal said: “We are delighted to sponsor PYF Saltires and to help the club develop. We wish them every success in the coming season.

“Futsal is a great way to bring on footballing talent, especially with such a progressive club with such an outstanding track record. Futsal started in Perth in the UK and AvantiGas has close ties with the area including a local supply point at Mossmorran serving many of our customers. We’re keen to put something back into the community whenever we can, and futsal is a healthy pursuit that’s good for the players, good for football and good for the community.”

Just after speaking to us, Kyle was about to take the club’s Under-15 players on a futsal-playing trip to Barcelona, where they were to play four friendly matches and visit the Nou Camp, hallowed home of top European football club Barcelona.

“I went last year with the Under13s and it was a great experience for them,” said Kyle. This year’s Under15s group on the Barcelona trip included one girl in the party, a player who has signed for Hibs and was formerly with Celtic Girls.

Perth Youth Futsal club recently changed the training pattern for female members to help attract more recruits: “There’s a girls-specific section who used to train at the same time – but some of them were older, so now we’re changing the format so that girls and boys of the same age group train together. There’s no reason not to,” said Kyle. Club players range in age from under10s to adult.