FUTSAL is the format of small-sided football that is recognised and supported by FIFA and UEFA with emphasis on skill and ability.

History of Futsal

Futsal began in the South American countries of Uruguay and Brazil. In Brazil, the large crowded cities and a shortage of playing pitches forced a football mad populace to play small sided football. A version began to develop on the streets of Sao Paulo, leading to the publishing of the first rules of the game in 1936 from the country that would soon become the masters of the game.

Skills and techniques honed in Futsal soon began to become apparent in the performance of Brazil’s National Team – Pele, Rivelino, and Zico all played the game at some time in their development.

Futsal was the name chosen by FIFA, the World governing body of Football for the only version of 5-aside football that it supports. The name simply combines the Spanish words for ‘Hall’ – Sala and ‘Football’ – Futbol into Futsal.

What’s the difference?


  • Five players on court – rolling substitutions
  • Played to lines. Ball is returned to play with a ‘Kick in’
  • Use of wider and longer pitch
  • All players allowed to enter penalty areas
  • No height restriction on ball
  • Use of square goals (3m x 2m)
  • Use of Futsal ball (size 4, 30% reduced bounce)
  • 5 foul limit – no wall for direct free kick from 10 metres after 5th foul

Traditional English five-a-side football

  • Five players on court – limited substitutions
  • No by or end lines – use of rebound boards Ball constantly in play
  • Only Goalkeepers permitted to enter penalty areas
  • Use of restrictions on height of ball
  • Use of rectangular goals
  • Use of Football size 5 for adults
  • Unlimited fouls

Teams can also use a bench of up to seven revolving substitutes which means that the tempo of games remains high throughout.

FIFA, in formulating the laws, incorporated an accumulated foul count with each and every team foul after the fifth in any one half resulting in an unopposed ten metre penalty. This really conditions the defensive tactics of teams and rewards attacking play.

So what is it and how does it help in player development?

It is a five a side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size 4 ball with a reduced bounce.

It is played to touchlines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head height.

As a small sided game players are constantly placed in situations where they must receive or play whilst under pressure or in confined spaces.

As a game it places considerable demand on technique, movement, tactical awareness and fitness.

The differences to our traditional versions of Small Sided Football are the absence of rebound boards and some slight amendments in the laws that favour skilful, creative play above the physical contact that tends to be a feature of English five a side.

BIC’s philosophy is of encouraging our players to play with freedom, be creative, skilful and play without fear. It is, therefore, not surprising we have adopted FUTSAL as part of our training programme.