Premier Futsal League: The rule changes (Bonus: Where you can play 5 vs 5 in India)
It has been four days since the genesis of the Premier Futsal League which has already received plaudits from all around the world. The tournament kicked-off on Friday, 15th July when Chennai 5s took on Mumbai 5s in the opener. International football legends like Michel Salgado, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Hernan Crespo and Ronaldinho along with Futsal legend Falcao have graced the pitch with their presence.
Futsal, although a less popular sport in India has a great future, judging by the way it has been accepted on a widespread basis. The tournament has been well designed to not only provide entertainment to the Indian fans but also to help youngsters understand futsal. The task of managing to tick all the aforementioned boxes sounds a bit taxing but looks like the organizing team has managed to do so, and here is how:
Firstly, the Premier Futsal tournament does not follow all the rules of international Futsal. Although a majority of the rules are similar to that followed in the international version, a few of them have been tweaked. For instance, the kick-in rule is used in international futsal when the ball goes out of play. In the Premier Futsal tournament, however, a throw-in is awarded.
A throw-in is not a rule from the longer version of the game, but also proves to add to the entertainment with stars attempting to control the ball with their upper body, attempting a volley or maybe even an overhead kick in some cases.
Another minor change is that teams play four quarters of ten minutes each, rather than two halves of twenty minutes each. This allows players adequate resting time, as well as avoids the confusion that could be caused from a one minute time out which is used in the international format.
The international format also requires players to take corner kicks and free kicks within four seconds while Premier Futsal does not follow the four-second rule for freekicks. This allows players time to pick their target, which is a very important feature of the longer format. These rule changes allow players to improve their performance in futsal while they can also learn the various skills and values required on a football field.
This tournament could also push India’s place in international football ahead in the coming years as the sport is gaining massive popularity in the country in the last few years. The biggest problem India faces in terms of sport is the lack of training area. In many of the metro cities, youngsters are forced to play 11 a side football matches in pitches that are not suitable for that many players. Hence, many youngsters and football enthusiasts in Indian metro cities have taken to the shorter/smaller version of the game.
Very often, we see youngsters play 5 vs 5 football with goal posts made from bricks or stones. This was followed by the introduction of various futsal facilities in the country with 5-a-side futsal based astroturf pitches. These pitches don’t require a lot of real estate and can be built within or outside popular public spaces like shopping malls, residential buildings and even on terraces.
They can be rented on an hourly basis for reasonable prices and have been in vogue in most Indian metro cities for football lovers. Many of these futsal pitches provide coaching facilities for younger age groups.
With the inception of these innovative 5-a-side pitches and their facilities, futsal's popularity could be on the rise very soon. Some of the popular futsal pitches around the country include VPLAY in Kolkata, Dribble in Mumbai, Powerplay in Bengaluru and Tiki Taka in Chennai. The facilities can usually be rented from Rs. 1000 an hour on off-peak timings to Rs. 3000 an hour during peak timings.
Youngsters in the cities book their slots beforehand for their weekly dose of futsal. Hence, the Premier Futsal tournament has come to the fore at the right moment for an audience that is knowledgeable about the 5 vs 5 side of things.