Frequently Asked Questions

What is Futsal?

Futsal is a form of 5-a-side football (soccer) played on a smooth, hard-court surface such as a gymnasium or outdoor court. Futsal is the only indoor football officially supported by FIFA and is said to be the fastest growing team sport in the world. FIFA are intensely working at getting Futsal accepted as an Olympic Sport. Futsal was developed in Brazil and has since found a tremendous growth in popularity across the world. In Brazil and Spain, Futsal is taught in school as part of physical education starting in elementary grades.

Futsal is an intense, and exciting fast-paced sport requiring skill and quick thinking due to the close quarters and limited space available compared to the 11-a-side outdoor grass pitch game. The ball is smaller than the 11-a-side ball and has less bounce. The game forces the player to make quicker technical and tactical decisions.

The game also highlights player safety because it is more based on individual skills rather than physical strength. No physical contact is allowed – no shoulder charges or slide tackles.

Comparisons between Futsal and Eleven-a-side Football played on grass or turf pitch follow:


Five players on smooth, hard-surface court
Unlimited rolling substitutions
Ball returned to play with kick-in
Goal clearance by Keeper – throw
No offside rule
Use smaller 3m by 2m goals
Smaller ball 62 cm – 64 cm (~size 4) with 30% – 50% reduced bounce
Fouls limited to Five. Direct free kick from 10m with no wall after fifth foul.
20 minutes each half
1 time-out per half
No substitutes for 2 minutes after player sent off
Little to no contact allowed

Eleven-a-side Football

Eleven players on grass or turf pitch
Maximum three substitutions
Ball returned to play with throw-in
Goal clearance by Keeper – kick
Offside rule
Use full size goals
Adults use size 5 ball
Unlimited fouls
45 minutes each half
No time outs
No substitutes allowed for sent off player
Physical contact allowed

What are the rules?

  1. No Slide Tackles or Shoulder Charges.
  2. No pushing or holding of jerseys is allowed.
  3. Gym shoes or indoor soccer/futsal shoes, and shin guards are required.
  4. Minimum of 3 players are required for a match. The match will be abandoned if a team has fewer than 3 players on the court.
  5. Unlimited substitutions are allowed without needing to inform the referee.
  6. A substitute player may not enter the court until a player completely exits the court area.
  7. The Goalkeeper cannot touch the ball with hands or feet a second time in his own half unless the ball
    • Goes out of bounds
    • Is touched by an opponent
    • The Goalkeeper receives the ball in the opponent’s half
  8. Goalkeepers on goal clearance have 4 seconds to put the ball back in play with hands or feet.
  9. When restarting play from the kick-in, the player has 4 seconds to restart play.
  10. Goalkeepers must play the ball with his feet within 4 seconds if receiving the ball directly from a kick-in.
  11. Goalkeepers in their own half must play the ball within 4 seconds.
  12. Goalkeepers can play anywhere on the court and can throw the ball past half-court.
  13. A goal cannot be scored directly from the kick-off.
  14. There is no offside.
  15. Normally, the clock stops but the Hamilton Futsal League shall use a running clock.
  16. Each half lasts 20 minutes.
  17. Each team is permitted one timeout per half. No timeouts are allowed in extra time.
  18. Opponents can be no closer than 5 m on a kick-in, corner kick, or free kicks.
  19. Accumulated fouls are penalized by a direct free kick or penalty kick.
  20. At the sixth accumulated foul, a direct free kick is awarded from the 2nd penalty mark (10 m from goal) or closer without a wall.
FIFA Futsal Laws of the Game