Futsal Rules


Futsal differs from indoor soccer. It is considered as a variant of association football which is very much similar to football but of a smaller scale. The name is said to came from ‘futebol de salao’ which is a Portuguese word and ‘futbol de salon’ which is a Spanish word which means ‘hall football’ or ‘indoor football’. ‘Futbol de salon’ was first officially used at the second world championships back in 1985 in Madrid which then became the international term. It is said have originated from Uruguay in 1930 by Juan Carlos Ceriani who wanted to create a competition for the YMCAs then.

Apart from the size of the pitch, which is about a quarter of the full football field of the standard game, it is played with lesser players on each team. While the standard football game is a game of strategy and is considered slower in many ways because the players are able to plan their move and attack, futsal is very fast paced and requires more accuracy and creativity. In fact, it is said that futsal is a game which is being played by famous footballers like Michael Owen, Lionel Messi and others to sharpen their dribbling skills as well as their techniques because they have more limited spaces to move around and hence would have to be able to make do with what they have.

Rules of Futsal

Generally, the game play of futsal is very much similar to that of standard football where 2 teams play against each other to shoot the ball into the goal mouth. But the differences here include the size of the pitch. Futsal is played between 5 players where 4 are out field while one is the goalkeeper. They are allowed to have another 7 players in the team who can be substituted unlimitedly throughout the game but can only be done at the Substitution Zone where the referee need not be informed. The player to be replaced must leave the field completely before his replacement can enter it.

If the ball passes the touchlines (out) then it is considered out and then a kick-in is awarded to the opposing team. It must be stationary before it is kicked. If the ball hits the roof, it is considered out of play and the opposing team is allowed to kick-start the ball. Fouls and misconducts too are awarded kick-offs similar to this. A penalty can only be taken with a one step kick towards the goal mouth.  As it is a very fast paced game, Futsal is played in 20 minutes of 2 halves bringing the total to 40 minutes. The game time could be extended accordingly by the referee as time will be stopped during kick-ins, penalties or free kicks.

Unfamiliar rules of Futsal

Although Futsal originated from the game of football, it differs greatly in many levels. In fact, many believe that Futsal is a game by itself although it looks very much like football in most ways. Apart from the pitch size and number of players, there are also areas which they both differ. Penalties are 6 meters from the goal while there is another penalty mark which is at 10 meters. The 6 first penalty mark is used for the common penalties awarded during game play. However, if a team accumulates 5 fouls in a half, a penalty is awarded and it will be taken from the second penalty mark.

If a team has accumulated 5 fouls, starting from the sixth foul, they will not be allowed to form a defensive wall. The goalkeeper must always be at least 5 meters from the ball and all other players must be behind the parallel line of the ball before the penalty kick is taken.

In football, backpasses to the goalkeeper is not allowed while in Futsal, the goalkeeper cannot use his hands or legs to receive a ball that he sent out to his own players unless it has already been touched by the opposing team.


Futsal positions

Unlike football, futsal players play with more freedom as there are many overlaps. The positions in football are less volatile and are often very rigid because the players must be at their positions in order to keep by the strategy. In futsal, there is a position called the Universal position where this player is free to roam around the court. He does not hold a specific position and it can in many times confuse the opponents.

The Goalkeeper is very much like the standard football position but takes on more defensive roles in many situations. Hence he will always be seen coming out of the penalty box where he cannot use his hands and take on the role of a defender.

The defender is an outfield player whose role is to break down the attack of the opposing team. Here is where the defender will do their best to hold the fortress against the team who is attempting to score and to cover the goalkeeper. Wingers are often deployed to feed the ball for the strikers to score. Called the Pivot, they take on the role of the forward as well as the midfields in the game where they are usually also the playmaker for the team.