What is Futsal and how is different than classic Soccer?

Written by: Sports Spot

What is Futsal?

The term is an abbreviation of the Portuguese “futebol de salão” or the Spanish “fútbol sala”, both of which mean “indoor soccer”.

It is a scaled down version of conventional soccer and it is played by two teams of five players each, including a goalkeeper on each side. It is played on basketball-sized courts, on a variety of surfaces both indoors and outdoors. The game does not require the use of expensive dasher boards, but has instead the normal touchline boundaries with no wall to smash the ball (and the bodies) against. The ball is a smaller size (size 3 or 4), heavier and has a dampened bounce.

Futsal is the official five-a-side indoor soccer game and the only indoor soccer recognized by FIFA.

Futsal is slated to become an Olympic sport in 2008, which will create added interest and deeper growth.

How is Futsal different from classic soccer?

The rules of the game are similar to classic soccer with certain modifications to allow for the reduced space.

Here is brief comparison of Futsal and soccer rules:

Soccer Futsal
Ball circumference 68-70 cm (27-28”) Ball circumference 62-68 cm (24-25”)
11 players 5 players
3 substitutions Unlimited “flying” substitutions
Throw-in Kick-in
Main referee & 2 assistants (linesmen) Main referee & assistant referee
Running clock operated by referee Stopped clock operated by timekeeper
45-minute halves 20-minute halves
No time-outs 1 time-out per half
Goal kicks Goalkeeper throws ball into play
No absolute time limit to restart game 4-second rule on restarts
Offside rule No offside rule
(Goalkeeper) 6 second rule on restarts 4-second rule to put ball back into play
Unlimited fouling 5 foul limit, no wall after 5 fouls
No substitution for player sent off Player sent off can be substituted after 2 minutes or after opponent scores
Corner kick in area Corner kick on corner
Unlimited playback to goalkeeper’s feet One play back to goalkeeper’s feet
Some contact, side tackling allowed No shoulder charge or side tackle. Non contact slides allowed