Everything You Needed To Know About Futsal

Futsal is a game played between two teams of five players on each side. Futsal began in Uruguay and Brazil where the large crowded cities and a shortage of playing pitches forced a football mad populace to play small sided football and in 1936 the first rules emerged. Futsal was the name chosen by FIFA, which is simply a combination of the Spanish words for ‘hall’ (Sala) and ‘football’ (Futbol): hence ‘Futsal’.

One of the five players is a goalkeeper who unlike soccer/football is very active out on the field. The game of futsal is played on a hard court surface with flat lines on it like a basketball court for the boundaries. It is played with a smaller ball (futsal ball) that has less bounce than a regular soccer ball. To be great at the game of futsal one needs to have great improvisation, technique, creativity, ball control and heightened awareness.


What the legends have to say

  • “I played Futsal for many years and it helped me to become the player I am today. There you don’t have time to think, you are always tightly marked and you develop a sense for performing in small spaces.” – Robinho, Brazil
  • “In Futsal you have to think quickly and play fast. It’s a great environment in which to learn.” – Zico, 88 games & 66 goals for Brazil
  • “I really liked playing Futsal. Futsal helped me a lot.” – Luis Fabiano, Brazil

“The Rules”


The Pitch:
Futsal is played on a marked pitch and the ball can go out of play.

Goalkeepers are allowed to come out of, and players are allowed to go into, the penalty area.

Kick In:
In order to restart the game after a ball has gone out of play the ball is kicked back into play from the touchline and from corners. The ball must be placed stationary on the touchline and the feet of the player taking the kick in must not cross the line.

The Four Second Rule:
For kick ins, free kicks, goal clearances and corner kicks the player in possession of the ball has four seconds to restart play which the referee will count with their fingers in the air. If play isn’t restarted within four seconds an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team. The goalkeeper is not allowed to control the ball for more than four seconds in his own half.

Accumulated Fouls:
Each team will be allowed to give away five direct free kicks in each half of the game, then on the sixth foul a direct kick will be awarded to the opposing team and the defending team is not allowed to position any players (other than the goal keeper) between the ball and the goal. The kick may be taken from the 10 meter mark or, if the foul was committed closer to the goal than the 10 meter mark, then the kick may be taken from the position where the foul took place.

Matches are played with a stopping clock (real time) whereby the clock will be stopped whenever the ball goes out of play or when there is a stoppage in the game. Futsal games consist of two halves of 20 minutes.

FIFA Futsal World Cup

The world championship tournament is held every four years, on the even year between two football World Cups. The first event was held in 1989, the year FIFA became the world governing body of futsal. It was held in the Netherlands to commemorate the popularity of the game there.


Up until the 2016 World Cup, only two countries have taken the Futsal World Cup: Brazil winning five, and Spain winning two. In 2008 Brazil became the first host country to win the Championship beating Spain in a penalty shootout. Brazil also won the 2012 competition, defeating Spain.

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