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What is futsal?: Text
What is futsal?: Image

Origins of Futsal

Futsal comes from Spanish fútbol sala or fútbol de salón and from Portuguese futebol de salão and may be translated as "indoor football". During the sport's second world championships held in Madrid in 1985, the Spanish name fútbol sala was used. The World Futsal Association registered the name futsal in 1985, following a dispute with FIFA over the name fútbol. Since then futsal has become the officially and internationally accepted name, and FIFA has also started using the term futsal.

"Futsal" started in 1930 when Juan Carlos Ceriani, a teacher in Montevideo, Uruguay, created a version of indoor football for recreation in YMCAs. This new sport was originally developed for playing on basketball courts and a rule book was published in September 1933. Association football was already highly popular in the country and after Uruguay won the 1930 World Cup and gold medals in the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics, it attracted even more practitioners. Ceriani's goal was to create a team game that could be played indoor or outdoor but that was similar to football.

What is futsal?: About
Football v Futsal Poster.png

Differences from Football

The Game

Futsal is a 5v5 game on an indoor pitch whereas football is played with 11 players on an outdoor pitch. This means you likely to have more touches of the ball in futsal than in football

The Ball

Futsal is played with a size 4 ball with 30% less bounce than a football. Football is played with a size 5 ball. With the futsal ball being heavier this allows you to get control of the ball more easily than a football.

Match times

Futsal is 40 minutes a match while football is 90 minutes a match. In futsal, however, you’re allowed one time out per half where in football this isn’t the case.

Pitch Size

Futsal is played on a small pitch (court) 20m – 40m and football is played on 68m – 105m. This means that in futsal you have less time on the ball but must make shorter quicker passes. Shots can come anytime from anywhere creating more attempts on goal or even goals. In football, you have a little more time on the ball and there are fewer opportunities to shoot. If the ball goes out of play (side) in futsal it’s a kick in. If a ball goes out (side) in football is a throw-in.

Sub Players

Futsal allows you to have roll-on/roll-off subs, football allows you to make 3 subs. In futsal you have 4 seconds for restarts,  in football it is none.


Both sports have a goalkeeper but in futsal, the goalkeeper can receive one back pass in their half, and they have to throw/ roll the ball out. In football, goalkeepers can have as many back passes to feet and start to play with a goal kick.


In futsal you are allowed a maximum of five fouls a half then it’s five free shots for the players fouled. In football, if you foul someone it’s a freekick, penalty or advantage played but fouls are not counted. If a player has been shown the red card in futsal you can sub that player sent off after 2 minutes and replace them with a new player. In football, if you get a red card you lose the player for the rest of the match.

With a heavier ball and played on a smaller pitch Futsal can help you to become more confident on the ball and improve your ball control as your first touch becomes better, your passes become quicker and your shooting becomes more frequent. So why not give futsal a try? you’re guaranteed more touches, more shots more goals and to have lots of fun.

What is futsal?: Text

What does a futsal game look like?

Here you can see what a competitive, adult, national league game of futsal looks like.

What is futsal?: Video

Summary of Rules

Length of the field

minimum 25 m × 16 m (82 ft × 52 ft), maximum 42 m × 25 m (138 ft × 82 ft).


Ages 13 and up: Size 4, circumference 62–64 cm (24–25 in), weight between 400–440 g (14–16 oz) at the start of the game.

Ages 9–13: Size 3, circumference 56–59 cm (22–23 in), weight between 350–380 g (12–13 oz) at the start of the game.

Dropped from a height of 2 m (6 ft 7 in), the first rebound must not be lower than 50 cm (20 in) or more than 65 cm (26 in).

The ideal futsal ball should weight 390–490 grams.


There are two periods of 20 minutes with time stopping at every dead ball. Between the two periods there is a break of 15 minutes. Each team may use one time-out per half, which lasts one minute. Some leagues and tournaments use 25 minute periods with running time.

Number of players

There are five players for each team in the field, one of them as goalkeeper, and a maximum number of 12 players that can be used each match. Substitutions are unlimited and on-the-fly.


All direct free kicks count as accumulated fouls. A direct free kick is awarded for kicking, tripping, charging, jumping, pushing, striking, tackling, holding, spitting, and deliberate handling. Indirect free kicks, such as playing dangerously and impeding, do not count as accumulated fouls. A team is warned by the referee when they commit five accumulated fouls in a half.


A caution can be shown for unsporting behaviour, dissent, failure to respect the distance on a restart, excessive delay of a restart, persistent infringement, or incorrectly entering/leaving the field of play. A player or substitute can be sent off for serious foul play, violent conduct, spitting, illegally denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, abusive language, and receiving a second caution. Sent-off players are ejected from the game and their team must play short for two minutes or until the other team scores a goal.

Free kicks

Taken from the spot of the infringement or on the line of the penalty area nearest the infringement (indirect only). All opponents must be at least 5 m (16 ft) away from the ball. The kick must be taken within four seconds or an indirect kick is awarded to the other team.

Kick from the second penalty mark

Awarded when a team commits 6 or more accumulated fouls in a half. Second penalty mark is 10 m (33 ft) from the goal, opponents must be behind the ball, goalkeeper must be at least 5 m (16 ft) away.

Penalty kick

6 m (20 ft) from the centre of the goal for fouls inside the 6 m (20 ft) goal keeper's area.


When in possession of the ball, the goalkeeper has 4 seconds to get rid of the ball. If the ball is kept too long, the referee will give an indirect kick to the other team. The goalkeeper may play freely when in the opponent's half.

Goalkeeper pass-back restriction

Once the goalkeeper has released the ball either by kicking or throwing, the goalkeeper may not touch it again until the ball goes out of play or is touched by an opponent. The sanction for violation is an indirect free kick. The goalkeeper may receive the ball freely when on the opponent's half.


A kick-in is used instead of a throw-in. The player must place the ball on the touchline or outside but not more than 25 cm (9.8 in) from the place the ball when out of play. The ball must be stationary and the kick-in must be taken within 4 seconds from the time the player is ready. During kick-in, opponents must stand at least 5 m (16 ft) from the ball. If four seconds elapses or an illegal kick is taken, the referee will award a kick-in to the other team. It is not allowed to score directly from a kick-in: the goal is valid only if someone else touches the ball before it enters in goal.

Goal clearance

A goal clearance is used instead of a goal kick. The goalkeeper must throw the ball with their hands and it must leave the penalty area within four seconds. If goal clearance is taken illegally the goalkeeper may retry, but the referee will not reset the count. If four seconds elapses, the other team gets an indirect kick on the penalty area line.

Corner kick

The ball must be placed inside the arc nearest to the point where the ball crossed the goal line and the opponent must stand on field at least 5 m (16 ft) from the corner arch until the ball is in play. The corner kick must be taken within 4 seconds of being ready or else a goal clearance will be awarded to the other team. The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves.


For international matches, there must be two referees: one (first referee) is positioned on the touchline near the timekeeper table and communicates with the timekeeper, while the other (second referee) is in the opposite side of the field. At the timekeeper table there is a timekeeper and a third referee, who controls the teams' benches. In minor events, the third referees and the timekeeper are not used.

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