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.
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.
Many of the Spanish team who are current World Cup and European Championship holders played Futsal as youngsters, which has greatly helped with their quick passing, technique and possession.
The AFA administrates the FA National Futsal League South Divisions 1 & 2 on behalf of the FA and also run Futsal for Beginners’ Courses throughout the year.
If you want to find out more, please visit www.thefa.com/futsal.