What is Futsal?

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small sided soccer game that is played across the world and is officially recognized by both FIFA and UEFA.    Futsal earned the status of FIFA’s official form of indoor soccer in the 1980s as it was recognized as a scaled down version of outdoor soccer played indoors.  It is a 5 v 5 small-sided game played on a hard surfaced, basketball sized court with a smaller, low bounce ball.  Futsal is played with touchline boundaries and without walls. 

Futsal places a large emphasis on technical skill in high pressure situations which can be translated into the outdoor game.  The sport is a great skill developer as it demands quick reflexes, fast thinking and pin-point passing.

Futsal is played in all the continents of the world by over 100 countries with 12 million players.  Great soccer superstars such as Pelé, Zico, Ronaldo, Messi, Kaka and Marta grew up playing the game and credit futsal with developing their skills.



General

  • Futsal is played with a ball that bounces less than a conventional football.

  • Goals measure three meters wide and two meters high.

  • Matches are officiated by two referees, one on each touchline.

  • When the ball goes out of play, play resumes with a kick-in.

  • There are no offsides.

Duration of matches

  • Two halves lasting 20 minutes each, with a 15-minute break for half-time.

  • The clock stops whenever the ball goes out of play or there is a break in play.

  • The clock only starts again when play resumes.

Time-outs

  • Each team may request a one-minute time-out per half.

  • Teams may only call a time-out after notifying the timekeeper and when they are in possession of the ball.

  • If a team decides not to use their time-out in the first half, they cannot carry it over to the second.

  • There are no time-outs if a match goes to extra time.

Rolling substitutions

  • Each team starts with one goalkeeper and four outfield players on the pitch.

  • Coaches can make as many substitutions as they wish.

  • Substitutions can be made without stopping the game.

Infringements and sanctions

  • As in football, fouls are penalised with either a direct or indirect free-kick, or a penalty if the foul is committed inside the penalty area.

  • Fouls can be sanctioned with red and yellow cards.

  • If a player is shown a red card, they can only be replaced on the pitch by a substitute after a mandatory two-minute time penalty. If the team concedes a goal during this time, the substitute may come on before the time penalty has elapsed.

Goalkeepers

  • Goalkeepers are free to move anywhere on the pitch but can only handle the ball inside their own penalty area.

  • They are allowed to throw the ball from their area into the opposition half.

  • When the ball is in their possession, either in their hands or at their feet, they have four seconds in which to play it to a team-mate.

  • They may only touch the ball again after an opposition player has touched it or if they advance to the opposition half.

Team fouls

  • A count is kept of fouls penalized with a direct free-kick or penalty kick in each time period. These offenses are called “accumulated fouls”.

  • When a team commits a sixth accumulated foul, the opposing team is awarded a direct free-kick without a wall on the second penalty mark, which is situated ten meters from goal and four meters behind the first penalty mark.

  • If, however, the sixth accumulated foul is committed between the opposition goal-line and an imaginary line parallel to the halfway line and passing through the second penalty mark, the free-kick may be taken closer to the goal, in the position where the infringement was committed.

  • If a match goes to extra time, the accumulated fouls from the second period continue to accumulate during extra time.

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