Futsal: Laws of the game

Our #FutsalFeb month aims to encourage as many people in Greater Manchester to give futsal a go.

The common misconception is to associate futsal with 5-a-side football but as we’ll show, futsal is a very different game!  So how do you play the game?

As mentioned, the first clear difference between futsal and 11-a-side football is that futsal is a 5-a-side game, however this does not mean the game goes by traditional 5-a-side rules; in fact the futsal rules are original to the game itself.

Playing at the intensity that futsal is played at can be extremely tiring, therefore futsal has unlimited rolling substitutes, with a maximum of nine substitutes on each team that can be brought on at any time, to keep the game fast and to allow coaches to make instant impacts with quick substitutions.

Futsal is not only played in an intense nature but the game itself is fast, with two half periods of just 20 minutes. To ensure the full 40 minutes are played on the court, the clock is stopped every time the ball goes out of play and is restarted when the ball returns.

To keep the game tactics-rich, both teams are entitled to a one-minute time out in each period. However, if a time out is not used, two cannot be made in the next period and there are no time-outs permitted in extra time.

Weather changes do not hinder the sport as it is primarily played indoors on a hard court. The game is played to the lines of a wider and longer pitch than 5-a-side, allowing more area for the game to be played.

To keep ball control a key part of the game, the ball is smaller at size 4 with 30% reduced bounce. The ball is also returned to play with kick-ins rather than throw-ins. Even though the ball has reduced bounce, there are no height restrictions on the ball when playing futsal so chipping and long  passes remain key to the game.

With no height restrictions the goals still stand tall, but remain slightly smaller than full-size goals, at three meters by two metres making goal scoring past a goalkeeper a slightly more skilful task.

Goalkeepers have just four seconds to release the ball and they cannot touch the ball again until an opponent has done so. They also play more freely compared to 11-a-side, being allowed to play anywhere on the court - allowing the regular occurrence of goalkeepers assisting and scoring goals.

Additionally, futsal opts for not one referee, but two, with one situated on each side-line to make sure neither interfere with play - this allows referees to have two good positions to view the game. And to prevent constant fouls, the game has an accumulated foul rule which allows referees to give teams a free-kick without a wall in place after a sixth foul is committed in one half, and every additional foul by a team thereafter.

Speaking of fouls, the ball can be placed at the second penalty mark - four meters behind the first - or even closer to the goal if the final foul was committed there. And for the more severe incidents, if a player is sent off in a game, unlike other forms of football, the player can be replaced after two minutes or if the team with less men concedes a goal.

So with over 12 key difference outlined above, it’s clear futsal is very different to 5-a-side football! If you’d like more information on #FutsalFeb or how to get involved with futsal contact us on  0161 225 1966. You can also download the FA’s guide to getting started with futsal, here.