What is Futsal? How is it different from Football?
With the likes of Manchester United legend Paul Scholes signing for the Premier Futsal League we take a look at the game and see what the fuss is all about.
What is Futsal?
Futsal is essentially football with a twist (and a lot less number of rules), it's a five a side game which includes one goalkeeper for each side, with a much smaller pitch, mostly played indoor stadiums and a (slightly) different ball. With the small nature of the pitch, the players playing in the league need to have much more close control and better technique on the ball.
Futsal games are mostly littered with wonderful skill and occasions of showboating and tends to be a lot more entertaining than traditional football, as individual skill takes the front seat over tactics and formations.
The USP of the game is that it doesn't have a lot of rules, apart from there being five players in each team. There are not so many lines on the pitch as there is in a football, but there are those subtle changes from traditional football.
Futsal Pitch : There is ongoing misconception that a Futsal pitch is the same as a basketball pitch, a basketball pitch is 420 square metres (28m X 15m) whereas a futsal pitch is much bigger 800 square metres (40m X 20 m), that makes it almost double the size.
Futsal Ball : A futsal ball is normally of the circumference of 62 -64 cm, but the ball's bladder is filled with foam as opposed to air in a traditional football. The logic behind this is due to the hard surface a normal football would bounce high on a hard pitch, but a futsal ball being slightly heavier bounces a maximum of 65 cm if dropped from a height of 2 metres.
Time of the game: The game is played in two halves of twenty minutes each, the time stops for every dead ball like in a hockey game (eliminating the concept of injury time). There is a break of fifteen minutes between each half.
Referees: There are three referees for each game, two who officiate the games from the touchline, one on each side, one (who is on the side of the timekeeper) communicates with the timekeeper whenever needed. The third official is on the timekeepers table who keeps track of both team's benches.
Substitutes: Rolling substitutions are allowed during the game, with 12 players maximum from each side allowed to play for a single game.
Kick-Ins: There are no throw-ins as seen in a football game, instead the players kick the ball in from the touchline. The place of the kick-in should be in close proximity from the place where the ball went out, and the kick-in should be under four seconds of the ball going out or an indirect freekick is given to the other team.
Freekicks and Penalties: A free kick has to be taken from the area of the foul, normally an indirect free kick is awarded, and has to be taken under four seconds or an indirect freekick is given to the other team.
Goalkeeper Pass-back Restriction/ Goal kick: When in possession of the ball, the goalkeeper has to get rid of it under seconds. Interestingly, a goal-kick is the goalkeeper throwing the ball out, against kicking it out. Once the goalkeepers released the ball, he can't touch the ball unless it has already gone out or an opposition has touched it.
Futsal Shoes: The studs are normally made of rubber soles to allow the players playing comfortably on the playing surface.
Offside Rule: There is no offside rule. Thank god for that.
So excited? With Indian Premier Futsal up around the corner, everyone should be. Let the games begin.