The term is an abbreviation of the Portuguese "futebol de salã o" or the Spanish "fútbol sala", both which mean "indoor soccer".
It is scaled down version of conventional soccer and it is played by two teams of five players each, including a goalkeeper on each side. It is played on basketball-sized courts, on a variety of surfaces both indoors and outdoors. The game does not require the use of expensive dasher boards, but has instead the normal touchline boundaries with no wall to smash the ball (and the bodies) against. The ball is a smaller size (size 3 or 4), heavier and has a dampened bounce.
Futsal is official five-a-side indoor soccer game and the only indoor soccer recognized by FIFA.
Futsal became an Olympic sport in 2008, which created added interest and deeper growth everywhere.
The rules of the game are similar to classic soccer with certain modification to allow for the reduced space. Here is a brief comparison of futsal and soccer rules .
Ball circumference 68-70 cm (27-28”)
Main referee & 2 assistants (linesmen)
Running clock operated by referee
No absolute time limit to restart game
(Goalkeeper) 6 second rule on restarts
No substitution for player sent off
Corner kick in area
Unlimited playback to goalkeeper’s feet
Some contact, side tackling allowed
Ball circumference 62-68 cm (24-25”)
Unlimited “flying” substitutions
Main referee & assistant referee
Stopped clock operated by timekeeper
1 time-out per half
Goalkeeper throws ball into play
4-second rule on restarts
No offside rule
4-second rule to put ball back into play
5 foul limit, no wall after 5 fouls
Player sent off can be substituted after 2 minutes or after opponent scores
Corner kick on corner
One play back to goalkeeper’s feet
No shoulder charge or side tackle. Non contact slides allowed
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