A few years ago, Virat Kohli was seen advertising for a certain ‘Premier Futsal League’. The league had some of the biggest names in football like Ronaldinho, Paul Scholes, and Ryan Giggs. However, for one reason or another, it failed to take off and survived for just two seasons, 2016 and 2017. But not before leaving a huge question in our minds – What is Futsal? Well then, let us get know this unique sports a little better:
What is Futsal?
Futsal is basically Football’s rather unique version with an emphasis on skills and showboating. With much simpler rules and little to no complications, Futsal is a fun 40 minutes ride. The game includes two sides of 5 players each, one of them being a goalkeeper. Time, size of the pitch and ball are all smaller in comparison with Football. Let us take a look at the rules:
The game consists of two halves, each of 20 minutes. But unlike Football, there is a pause in time every time the ball goes out of play. So there is no injury time in Futsal, and the game goes on for a little longer than the 40 minutes time. The clock system works like the game of Basketball or Hockey.
If there is a requirement of a definite result, a drawn game at the end of standard time goes in the extra time – two halves of five minutes each. If teams cannot be separated even after extra time, penalty shoot-out with three penalties each is carried out. Sudden death penalties continue in case of a tied score even after three penalties.
Five players, one of them a goalkeeper, start the game for each side. But with the help of rolling substitutions (unlimited substitutions), all 12 players on the team sheet can be part of the game at one time or another.
Futsal is primarily an indoor game. It is mostly played on a hard court. The size of the field is 800 square meters (40m X 20 m) – almost one-tenth of the football pitch and double the size of a basketball court. If the game is being played indoors, the height of the ceiling should be at least 4m.
A standard Futsal ball is of 62-64 cm circumference and weighs 400-440 g. Unlike Football balls, which are filled with air, Futsal balls are filled with foam. This is done to make sure there is no excess bounce on the hardcourt. When dropped from a 2 m height, the ball should not bounce less than 50 cm and more than 65 cm.
Referees, Fouls, and Cards
Each game has three referees, two on each touchline and one near the timekeeper. The third official makes sure the time is stopped during dead balls and keeps an eye on substitutions.
Most of the fouls are similar to football, and each foul follows a direct free kick. A kick from the second penalty mark is awarded when 6 or more direct free kicks are accumulated in a single half. If a free-kick doesn’t happen within four seconds, the opposition side win an indirect free kick. Yellow and red card rules are also similar to that of football.
A goalkeeper must get rid of the ball within four seconds after receiving a ball, and he/she can only touch the ball again after it goes out of play. If the goalkeeper fails to follow these rules, the opponents win an indirect free kick.
But above all, there is one best rule in Futsal – No Offside!
Governing Body of Futsal
There are two governing bodies for Futsal – Asociación Mundial de Fútsal (World Futsal Association) and FIFA. Due to differences between both bodies, AMF and FIFA work separately and organise their own competitions.
Just like Football, domestic leagues are popular in most of the European, North and South American and Asian countries. Europe’s UEFA Futsal Champions League is one of the most prestigious competitions of the game.
Both AMF and FIFA organise their own World Cup. The first AMF Futsal World Cup was organized in 1982, where hosts Brazil defeated Paraguay 1-0 in the final. So far, Colombia and Paraguay have won the AMF World Cup 3-times, most by any nation.
Argentine won their second title in the recently conducted 2019 AMF Futsal World Cup. They defeated arch-rivals Brazil 3-2 in a closely fought contest.
The 1st Women’s World Cup was held in 2008 where hosts Catalonia (Spain) beat Galicia 4-0 in the final. Colombia won the World Cup in 2013 and Brazil in 2017.
FIFA Futsal World Cup
Brazil is a country famous for footballing skills and showboating. Players like Neymar and Ronaldinho have shown what Simba Football is all about. And the South American country has absolutely dominated the FIFA Futsal World Cup so far.
Brazil won first three consecutive World Cups in 1989, 1992 and 1996. Spain stopped their wagon in 2000, defeating the Selecao 4-3 in the final. Overall, Brazil has won the World Cup 5 times, Spain twice and Argentine are the current champions after they defeated Russia 5-4 at the 2016 World Cup. The next World Cup will take place in Lithuania in 2020.