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Understanding Futsal: The Beginner’s guide

Understanding Futsal: The Beginner’s guide

Mumbai: Real Madrid FC and Portuguese soccer legend Luis Figo pose for media during the announcement of Premier Futsal league in Mumbai on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Santosh Hirlekar(PTI4_5_2016_000163)
Mumbai: Real Madrid FC and Portuguese soccer legend Luis Figo pose for media during the announcement of Premier Futsal league in Mumbai on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Santosh Hirlekar(PTI4_5_2016_000163)

The hype is real! With players like Ryan Giggs, Ronaldinho, Hernan Crespo, Paul Scholes, Michel Salgado, Falcao (Futsal Legend) and Louis Figo in India, for the very first edition of the Premier Futsal, it becomes quite pertinent to know more about the game which has taken millions of fans worldwide by storm. We bring to you the complete beginner’s guide to understanding the morphed version of the same old football- futsal.

While some may claim it to be a new-age fad, the game can be traced back to Uruguay in the 1930’s when the game was played on basketball courts for youth competitions. It has always been a game of 5-a-side and was played with or without any side netting. South America soon grew to be the hub of the shorter and smaller version of “The Beautiful Game”, with countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay forming a very deep sense of love for the game. Brazil soon earned the title of being the hotbed of the game, as almost every Brazilian football legend, has at some point in their career attributed some of their skills to futsal. Some of these names include the likes of Eusebio, Pele, and Zico.


Brazil still continues to be the center of the futsal-ing world, as the game is well embodied in their understanding of ‘O Jogo Bonito‘- the beautiful game. Football in Brazil is from the streets. With limited space and lack of funding, the young footballers from the favelas often take to playing on the roads with makeshift goals. These reduced boundaries not only help to improve their flair and dribbling but also their ball control and improvisation. These are probably the essential skills required in a futsal player, which come quite naturally to the street-smart footballer in the Americas.

Moving on to understanding the game, the game is played on a hard-floored ground, which is generally indoors. The dimension of the playing field is around the vicinity of  40m x 20 m, in comparison to football’s 100m x 70m. The ball used is a #4 ball, which has 30% less bounce than the #5 ball used in football. Also, as mentioned before, the game is played 5-a-side, with an unlimited number of substitutions from among the 12 members selected before a game. Football allows for just 3 substitutions in the entire game.

As the playing area is reduced, there are no more throw-ins, rather kick-ins. The playing time is reduced to 20 mins a half, allowing for 1 timeout in each half for each team. The clocks are also paused in case of any interruption in the game (like basketball). Regarding timing, the game has to be restarted within 4 seconds of any interruption or else the free-kick/kick-in goes to the opposition team. The same applies to goalkeepers.
Goalkeepers no longer kick the ball from their box but rather only throw the ball. In case the goalkeeper kicks the ball rather than throwing, an indirect free kick is awarded to the opposition. In an indirect free-kick, the ball is placed at  the 6-meter box if the foul occurs inside the penalty area. Similarly, in a case of a direct free kick, a penalty is offered if the offense occurs inside the penalty area. The wall should at least be 5 meters away from the ball in case of any free kick, and the kick has to be taken within 4 seconds of the game restarting. Additionally, the ball cannot be passed back to the goalkeeper.

Like basketball, Futsal is considered to be an almost no contact sport as sliding tackles and shoulder pushes are not allowed (probably why the game did not hit off in Europe). There is no offside rule, and a player who has been red-carded can be subbed out for another player after facing a 2-minute penalty with reduced players.

As one can see, the game of futsal is an amalgam of both basketball and football, and yet so fast paced that one can’t help but love this form of the game. Premier Futsal is here to bring a revolution. Premier Futsal will have 8 city-based teams, with 40 Indian and 50 international players. The teams are from Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Kochi, Goa and Hyderabad. They have also employed 4 world class coaches- Max Bellarte, Sergio Tabbia, Octavio Gomes De Oliveira Junior and Ney Pereira.

With traditional futsal players like Falcao and Ronaldinho, alongside first timers like Hernan Crespo, Ryan Giggs, and Paul Scholes, this is one version of the game which will keep you engrossed and at the edge of your seat, and knock your socks off with the sheer display of dribbling, creativity, and flair. This is a fad which is here to stay. It’s not just us who claim so!




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