Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small sided indoor soccer game that is widely played across the world and is officially recognized by both UEFA and FIFA.
Different forms of indoor soccer have been recorded as early as 1831 in Canada when people playing soccer were forced to play inside due to either rain or cold. The origin of modern Futsal is that the sport was first played socially by a group of friends from São Paulo at the end of 1930 and the first rules book was published in 1936 in a physical education magazine from Brazil (Fonseca, 1997). The sport was developed in Brazil and then spread to the seven continents.
The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure and is subsequently an excellent breeding ground for soccer competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game.
Many of the top world-class soccer stars played Futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their soccer development; players of the calibre of Pele, Marta, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Lionel Messi, Neymar to name but a few of the South American legends all played and enjoyed Futsal. But Futsal has not just helped produce South American football stars. On the European stage Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas, amongst many others, have played Futsal to develop their skills.
Futsal is a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with a size four ball with a reduced bounce. It is played to touchlines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head-height. Games are 20 minutes per half, played to a stopping clock (similar to basketball) with time-outs permitted.
There are a number of differences to our traditional version of small-sided soccer, but the dominant elements are the absence of rebound boards and amendments in the laws that encourage foster skillful and creative play above the physical contact.
The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.
We believe that futsal is the best form of soccer for the inner city. It can be played in the concrete surfaces of inner-city elementary school playgrounds where there aren’t even basketball hoops. It can be played in the basketball gyms of rural areas where the winters are long and harsh. It can be played in downtown Brooklyn or in an Indian village in Alaska. And it can be played in world-championship conditions in 20,000-seat arenas. If you compare it logistically to basketball, you’re correct. The staging, the sightlines, the pace, and the television potential of Futsal are the same as basketball. But, as noted, Futsal is even more adaptable to inner-city conditions than basketball.
Also, it is excellent for children with physical and mental disabilities, as well. The specially-designed Futsal ball is smaller than the outdoor ball (size three compared to size four or five) and has less bounce.
The obvious benefits are lots of touches as there are fewer players. The ball is easier to control as it’s slightly heavier with less bounce than a normal ball. You develop one-v-one and skills in tight areas. Fast decision-making is needed as the ball has to be passed back into the pitch within four seconds if it leaves the field of play. It’s good for goalkeepers’ reaction skills. It’s tactically like a condensed game of 11 v 11. There are lots of counter-attacking which reflects the modern game.
The Brazilian team is considered to be the strongest in the world earning a record three straight championships in the FIFA Futsal World Cup. Brazil also holds a record twelve championship wins in the South American Futsal Championship also known as the Copa America – FIFA Futsal and five wins in the Taça America de Futsal. As of November 2016, Brazil is ranked first in the Futsal World Rankings. Brazil has played in all FIFA Futsal World Cups and has finished in the top three places seven times.
Nowadays Futsal is a sport played in more than 60 countries with professional leagues being played in many countries including Brazil, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, USA, and Russia. FIFA has organized eight world cups: Netherlands/1989, Hong Kong/1992, Spain/1996, Guatemala/2000, Chinese Taipei/2004, Brazil/2008, Thailand/2012 and Colombia/2016.
FIFA has been injecting a lot of effort to develop Futsal around the world. As Futsal is such a dynamic sport, the directors of this powerful organization preview huge popularity for the sport. They are dedicating special attention to legitimize it as an Olympic Sport.