What is Futsal?


Futsal is a modified version of football that has the benefit of being played all year long. And while this sport may not be as popular as the football that Cristiano Ronaldo plays, it’s starting to pick up traction among athletes that want something a little different.

How is Futsal Played?

A variant of association football, futsal has minor tweaks to the traditional game. These changes include:

  • Surfaces: A hard surface with delimited lines is the “court” or “field” in which the game is player.
  • Indoor: For the most part, futsal is played indoors on a field that is much smaller than a soccer field. The reason for the smaller field is that there are far fewer players on the field than in a regular football match.
  • Players: There are a total of five players on each opposing side, and one of these players for each team will be the goalkeeper.

These are only the basic differences between futsal and football, but there is a lot more to this game that makes it unique and fun.

Ball Differences

The ball used must be a size 4 with a circumference of 62-64 cm. In terms of weight, the ball will weigh between 400 – 440g at the start of the game and will be dropped from a height of 2m.

Maximum Players

Each side will have a choice of 12 players in which they can substitute freely. Unlike football, futsal allows for an unlimited number of substitutions per game that can be introduced on-the-fly.

The ability to substitute players at any time allows coaches to make quick and often game-changing moves that plays to the strengths of their team.

Match Time

Every match is broken up into two, 20 minute periods. Time will be stopped at a dead ball only. The time in between periods is just 15 minutes. Coaches can call one time-out per half, with each timeout lasting for a period of 60 seconds.

Outside of regulated play, some leagues will have 24-minute periods.

It’s important to note that goalkeepers have a maximum of 4 seconds to get rid of the ball. If the ball is not put back into play by the goalkeeper at this time, the refs have the power to give an indirect kick to the opposing team. Goalkeepers can also play freely if entering the other team’s half of the field.

International matches will require two referees to be played accordingly.

Regulating Bodies

Futsal has become so popular that there are two regulating bodies of the game: FIFA and AMF. These two entities are required to maintain and regulate the official rules of the game. The rules, called the “Laws of the Game,” also define guidelines for local competition and leagues.

The guidelines state what is allowed to be changed when playing on a small scale.

There is an ELO-based ranking system, in which world rankings are provided. The top countries in the world for the sport are:

  1. Brazil
  2. Spain
  3. Russia
  4. Italy

With five people per side, futsal is a game of action and speed while also being much shorter in duration.

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