Futsal is a simplified version of football that has immensely grown in popularity in recent years. FIFA recognise the sport and has specified futsal rules themselves. In this piece, we will take a look at the rules and find out what differentiates the game from football.  

Futsal Rules

As we mentioned earlier, futsal has evolved from football and presents a modification of the world’s most beloved sport. It is more action-packed and full of thrills, compared to the 90-minute event all of us are already in love with.  

Regarding futsal rules, there is not a lot to discuss. The set of rules is way more compact. It is played underneath a roof with five players on both sides. And of course, the pitch is a lot smaller than traditional football pitches.  

You need to be a skilful player to make a difference in the bijou pitch of futsal. Since the playing space is scarcer, you need to improvise and execute some nifty tricks to get the better of your opponents. The player’s individual skills take precedence over tactics and formations.  

This particular aspect of the game has attracted some of the biggest names to have ever played football to try their hands (or, should we say legs?) at futsal. Ronaldinho, Paul Scholes, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta are superstars to have participated in futsal events.  

A detailed breakdown of futsal rules follows in the next paragraphs…

20 Minute Halves 

A regular game of futsal is split into two halves of 20 minutes. There is no injury time added to the regulation time. Futsal rules require the timer to be stopped every time the ball goes out of play, or a player goes down injured. Therefore, no injury time is needed. 

Time Outs & Extra Time 

Every team can rake a time out in each half of the game. This is not similar to the time-outs we had witnessed in regular football last season. Those were mandatory water breaks that each team took simultaneously after a period of time. Many managers took tactical advantage of it.  

But, time-outs in futsal can be initiated by a single team. If things are not going your way, you can take a time out rethink your strategy to get back into the game. You can take one time out in either half. However, taking time outs is not mandatory.  

Even though the futsal rules state that a team is entitled to have two time-outs in a single match, you cannot have two time-outs in a single half. For example, if you do not take up your first half time out, you will not get two time-outs in the second half.  

Time-outs are exclusive to regulation time halves. There are no time-outs in extra time. Each time-out is a minute long. After each half ends, there is a 15-minute break. In a knockout tie, the match will go to extra time after a regulation time tie. The extra time has two 5 minute halves.

  

Substitutions 

Five players will take the pitch when the match kicks off. The reserve bench will have nine substitute players. Ther manager can use each of these players in the game. However, once a player gets substituted, he cannot re-enter the match.  

Unlike football, the ball does not have to go out of play to make player changes. New players can walk in at any time without the clock being stopped. But, the incomings and outgoings must go through designated substitution zones.  

Red Cards 

Futsal rules do not force a team to play the remainder of a game with one less player after a player gets sent off. After receiving marching orders, a player can get replaced by a substitute player. But, the manager must wait two minutes following the dismissal to make the change.  

There is an exception to this law, however. According to futsal rules, if a team concedes a goal after one of its player gets sent off, it can bring on a new player before the two minute waiting period. The manager can also make early changes if a player gets injured.  

Goalkeeping Rules 

Futsal rules prohibit goalkeepers from keeping the ball for more than four seconds. It doesn’t matter whether the ball is at the keeper’s hands or feet, he/she must dispose of it within four seconds. In cases of goal-kicks, the goalkeeper throws the ball to his/her teammates. 

Previously, it was forbidden for goalkeepers to throw the ball beyond the halfway line. After they release the ball, they can’t touch it again without an opposition player touching it. So, if a player receives the ball from the goalkeeper, he/she can’t pass it back to the keeper immediately.  

The ball has to come in contact with an opposition player before you can pass it back to your shot-stopper. The goalkeepers can play anywhere on the pitch and can leave their goal post unprotected whenever they want. This was also made possible via a change in futsal rules.  

Accumulated Fouls 

In traditional football, the total number of fouls committed by a team bears no special significance. But, that’s not the case in futsal. After making six consecutive fouls, a team gives away a direct freekick without a wall. The kick is taken front he second penalty spot. 

The second penalty mark sits four meters behind the primary penalty spot. Like traditional penalties, the shot taker will have no barriers to score other than the keeper. However, if the foul takes place between the first and second penalty spot, the shot is taken from there.  

Pitch Size 

People often make the mistake that a futsal pitch matches a basketball court in dimensions. In reality, a futsal pitch is almost double the size of a basketball court. Futsal rules narrate that the futsal pitch should 800 square meters in size.

The pitch would stretch 40m in length and span 20m in width. A basketball court, on the other hand, has a 28m length and 15m width. Therefore, it takes up an area of 420 square meters, which would be very insufficient for accommodating a futsal match.  

Futsal Ball 

The circumference of a futsal ball is 62-64cms. The bladder of a futsal ball is filled with foam, rather than air. The reason behind this is to minimise bounce and make it more appropriate for playing in a compact pitch. A conventional football would jump too high on a hardwood pitch.  However, a 5 size ball is also used in more often than not occasions. 

Kick-Ins 

When the ball goes out of play, the players kick it in from the touchline. There is no use of hands here. The player simply places the ball on the touchline and kicks the ball to one of his/her teammates. The kick must be taken within four seconds of the ball going out.  

Referees

There are three match officials in a futsal match. Two of them are on-pitch referees. There is one of them on either half of the pitch and they stand on the touchline. They keep regular communication with the timekeeper. The third official stays on the timekeeper station and monitors bench activities. 

 

Football vs. Futsal Rules: Key Differences 

  • There is no offside in futsal. A player is allowed to stay behind the opposition defence. Scoring a goal from that position will not be illegal. 
  • A futsal ball is smaller than a football one. It is one size shorter and is less bouncy, thanks to its foam infused bladder.  
  • In football, only three substitutions can be made within regulation time. You can make unlimited substitutions in futsal.
  • Futsal is played indoors, while football is an outdoor sport. It is also played on a smaller pitch.  
  • Teams are especially penalized for making six back to back fouls. There are no such rules in football.  
  • Futsal rules strictly instruct the goalkeeper to release the ball within four seconds. There are no such time constraints in football.  
  • Referees add stoppage time to normal game time to make up for the time wasted for balls going out of play or players getting hurt. In futsal, there is no stoppage time. The timer is hated, whenever the ball goes out of play or a player collapses injured 
  • Since the futsal is played in a smaller space, it is natural that it would involve less personnel as well. In contrast to 11-man football teams, futsal teams consist of five players.  
  • Futsal teams can get one-minute time-outs in both halves. There is no such thing in football. But, sometimes teams are given special water breaks if the playing condition is harsh.  
  • There are no linesmen in futsal because there are no off-sides.  
  • Futsal rules state that substitute players must enter the match through designated spots. There are no such obligations in football, but the player traditionally enters the fray from the dugout region. But, rules do not mandate it.  

Conclusion 

Futsal is making progress as an individual sporting event. If you are interested to enjoy the futsal experience, you must know the futsal rules first. Hopefully, this article helped you to become adept in the rules and regulations of the game.