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What is Futsal?

Futsal is played between two teams of five players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper. Unlimited substitutions are permitted. Unlike some other forms of indoor football, the game is played on a hard court surface delimited by lines; walls or boards are not used. Futsal is also played with a smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football due to the surface of the field. The surface, ball and rules create an emphasis on improvisation, creativity, and technique as well as ball control and passing in small spaces.

A brief history of futsal

What became futsal was developed in 1930s Uruguay by a teacher named Juan Carlos Ceriani, originally to play on a basketball court. In writing the laws he took the five-a-side team sizes and 40-minute match duration from basketball, pitch and goal dimensions from handball, and goalkeeper rules from water polo.

The game soon spread throughout South America, where the rules were standardized and the first international confederation was formed in 1965. In 1989, FIFA took over as the sport's governing body, holding the first edition of its World Cup that January in the Netherlands, Brazil beating the hosts in the final.


The first UEFA tournament came in 1996, won by hosts Spain, and there followed a full UEFA European Futsal Championship in 1999, Russia victorious. Eight teams were involved in those finals; by 2022, there will was a 16-team competition in the Netherlands with 50 of UEFA's 55 members entering qualifying. A club UEFA Futsal Cup began in 2001/02 and is now the UEFA Futsal Champions League, dovetailing with professional competitions in much of the continent.

In countries like Brazil, Argentina, Portugal and Spain, it is normal for young players to grow up playing futsal, and even those that switch to football credit their skills to the small-sided game – stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Philippe Coutinho.

A General Overview

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