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What is futsal?

What is futsal?

Born in the 1930s... 

Futsal emerged from the football-mad cities of South America. Here, players had little space and a shortage of pitches. This led them to create a small-sided game with only five players on each team. Just like football, futsal focuses on scoring and stopping goals – invading a protecting ‘territory’. 

Nowadays, futsal is enjoyed by over 60 million people worldwide. It's recognised by both UEFA and FIFA, and has a number of international competitions.  

There are also professional futsal leagues around the world. Whilst not yet ‘pro’, the top domestic league in England is the National Futsal Series. To contact your local club, check the league website.  

Futsal isn't just five-a-side football 

It's a very different experience, and a lot of this is down to the laws of the game. Here are the non-negotiables. 

  • Futsal uses a 3x2m goal. 
  • Futsal uses a futsal ball with reduced bounce. 
  • Futsal is ‘played to lines’. This means that the game has clear court boundaries. 
  • Futsal needs a hard and flat surface. 
  • Players have four seconds to take a set piece.  
  • When in their own half, goalkeepers can only touch the ball once in a phase of play. 

By design, futsal is fast and exciting 

It's fun and it requires teams to operate in high-pressure situations. This means that players need excellent technique. They also have to make quick decisions and think ahead. These demands make futsal a fantastic way to become a skilful player. 

So, want to find out more and how to coach it? Continue through the game guide, starting with the principles of futsal.