Otherwise known as indoor football, futsal has been around since the start of the 20th century. It’s very popular in South America; however, it’s quickly expanding to the rest of the world. There are several different versions of indoor football that are played around the world but futsal is definitely the most popular one.

Futsal Intro
Welcome to Futsal

Futsal is played on a hard indoor court, much smaller than a football field. Each team has 5 players and one of them is the goalkeeper. The idea of the game is to maneuver the ball and score a goal in the opponents net. The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to handle the ball with his hands but he has to be inside his goal field. Keep reading to learn more about this sport and its origins.

Futsal History

Futsal as a term appeared in 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay and was initially known as “Futbol de Salon”. Juan Carlos Ceriani who was a teacher decided to invent a new version of indoor football. The sport was initially supposed to be played on basketball courts and by 1933 a rule book on it was already published. Since football was already massively popular in Uruguay at that time, Ceriani just wanted to create a team game that can be played indoor. His futsal rule book took several things from a bunch of sports.

Futsal History

The number of players and the play time (40 minutes) from basketball. The rules for the goalkeeper are from water polo, and the court and goal size are from handball. With time, futsal spread all over South America and the need of a governing body emerged. Federación Internacional de Fútbol de Salón was the biggest organization for this sport; however they had a long standing feud with FIFA.

FIFA wanted to spread their own version of futsal in Europe, but FIFUSA couldn’t agree to that. With time, some kind of agreement was made but since FIFA still continued to promote their own version of the sport, FIFUSA was reformed into a different entity. In 2002, the Asociación Mundial de Futsal (AMF) was formed, so now futsal has two governing bodies.

Futsal Rules

There is an official set of rules for this sport. The ball needs to be a size 4 with a circumference between 62-64 cm and weigh between 400-440 grams. One match lasts for 40 minutes, 20 minutes for a half. There is a 10 minute rest between the halves. As we mentioned above, each team has 5 players and one of them is a goalkeeper. 7 more players can be on the bench and there is an unlimited number of substitutions, just like in handball.


There are yellow and red cards just like in football. Additionally, there are penalties and free-kicks as well. Throw-ins are called kick-ins because the ball gets kicked in the field instead of thrown with the hands. Additionally, there is a special penalty kick that no other sport has. Futsal has the 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.

How To Play

The aim of Futsal is to outscore the opponent. There are two halves and teams change sides for each half which lasts 20 minutes. After 40 minutes have passed, there is injury time, just like in football. If it’s a league game, it can end with a draw. If it’s a tournament where a winner has to emerge, extra time is played and if that doesn’t decide it, penalties are the last resort.

Pitch Rules, Players, and Equipment

The futsal field is allowed to have a different size. The minimum is 25 m x 16 m and the maximum one is 42 m x 25 m. The 6 meters around the goal are known as the goalkeeper area, and infractions in that area lead to penalties.

When it comes to the 5 players each team has. One of them is the goalkeeper, and one is the captain. However, in futsal, just like in handball, you can make substitutions during the whole game. For instance, if you need a goal, you can put more attacking players and if you are trying to defend a lead just put more defensive players. Just remember that a player has to leave the field before the substitute can enter.

Futsal Equipment
Futsal Goalkeeper Equipment

The kit is made up of a jersey or shirt with sleeves, shorts, socks, shin guards made out of metal, plastic or foam, and shoes with rubber soles. The goalkeeper is allowed to wear long trousers and a different colored kit to distinguish themselves from the other players on the futsal team and the referee. The goalkeeper is also allowed to wear elbow pads because the surface is about as hard as a tennis court or basketball court. Jewelry is not allowed, nor are other items that could be dangerous to the player wearing the item or to other active participants.


There is one main referee who controls the major decisions of the games. The second referee works as an assistant but he also watches over the goal lines. There is also a third referee and a time-keeper who are in charge of the time and the accumulation of fouls. In most futsal matches there can be just one main referee. However, in international play, at least two referees are a must.

Footsall Organisations and Tournaments

As we mentioned above due to an ongoing feud, two organisations monitor over futsal tournaments. However, this is actually good for sports betting. Because there are more tournaments and more games to bet on.

AMF – Asociación Mundial de Futsal

First we have to mention that Futsal is separated into national and club competitions. Additionally, there are men’s and women’s versions of the sport as well. AMF is affiliated with organisations all around the world. They all specialize in futsal and each continent has one:

  • Asian Confederation
  • African Confederation
  • North, Central American, and Caribbean Confederation
  • Confederação Sul-Americana de Futebol de Salão
  • Panamerican Confederation
  • Confederation of Oceania
  • Futsal European Federation
AMF Futsal Logo
AMF Logo

As for the competitions that AMF controls, they are:

  • AMF World Cup
  • UEFS Men’s Championship
  • AMF Women’s World Cup
  • AMF Club World Cup
  • UEFS European Champions Cup
  • UEFS Cup
  • Women’s European Champions Cup
  • Women’s UEFS Cup

FIFA – International Federation of Association Football

Since an agreement between them and AMF could not be reached, FIFA organizes it’s own competitions. They are also separated by continents but the same organizations that in charge of football competitions, take care of futsal as well. Here are the competitions that are a part of FIFA:

  • FIFA World Cup
  • Africa Cup of Nations
  • Copa America de Futsal
  • UEFA Championship
  • CONCACAF Championship
  • AFC Championship
  • Intercontinental Cup
  • UEFA Champions League
  • Copa Libertadores de Futsal

These are just the most watched competitions when it comes to the sport. However, each continent has several minor competitions who are not very popular with the fans.

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