What is futsal, how is it different to football, and what are the rules of the game?

FOOTBALL may take the fame, money and glory, futsal has its own spot in the sport.

While there are many similarities to its richer cousin, it has earned its own respect and seen famous stars switch between the two.

 Falcao, right, is considered one of futsal's best players in the world

AFP or licensors

Falcao, right, is considered one of futsal’s best players in the world
Ronaldinho lights up the Indian Futsal League with five-goal masterclass

What is futsal?

Futsal is played out on a smaller and a hard court pitch, compared to football.

Meanwhile, the number of players is reduced to five-a-side and matches are played out over 20 minutes each half.

  • A futsal ball is a size below a normal football, while it also has 30 per cent less bounce.
  • Games are formed of two 20-minute halves, with time stopping at every dead ball.
  • Each team is allowed to use one timeout each period, which last one minute.
  • Each side begins with five players on the pitch, with one as a goalkeeper.
  • A maximum of 12 players per team can be used, with substitutions unlimited and does not require a stoppage.
  • Direct free kicks are counted as accumulated fouls, with teams warned by the referee when they reach five per half.
  • Yellow and red cards are still handed out, just like in the grass version.
  • Futsal has two penalty spots, one at 10 metres and the other in the goalkeeper’s area at 6m.
  • A kick from the 10m spot is awarded when a team commits six or more accumulated fouls. All opponents must be behind the ball, while the goalkeeper has to be at least 5m away.
  • A penalty kick from the 6m spot is taken when a player is fouled in the goalkeeper’s area.
  • When a goalkeeper has the ball, he must get rid of it within four seconds, or concede an indirect free-kick.
  • Once the goalkeeper has released the ball, it needs to go out of play or be touched by an opponent before he can receive it once again.
  • Goalkeeper can play as normal in the opponent’s half.
  • Instead of the normal throw-in in regular football, futsal has a kick-in.
  • In all matches, one referee is positioned near the timekeeper table and another is on the opposite side.
  • For international games, there is a timekeeper and a third referee that controls the team benches.
 Ronaldinho and Paul Scholes face each other at the Premier Futsal Tournament in India

AP:Associated Press

Ronaldinho and Paul Scholes face each other at the Premier Futsal Tournament in India

What famous footballers have played futsal?

Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are among the most famous of names to switch between the two sports.

The Manchester United legends took part in the India’s Premier Futsal Tournament.

Ex-Barcelona and Brazil hero Ronaldinho has also featured at the competition, while Argentina superstar Diego Maradona has been spotted showing off his skills in the past.

Ryan Giggs rolls back the years with amazing volley in Indian Futsal League


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