Futsal Facts -

The Game Explained

The official laws for Futsal - 'The FIFA Futsal Laws of the Game' are published by FIFA and cover all aspects of rules that the game should be played to and the disciplinarily actions that players face when they infringe on those rules. The FIFA rules will be available as a download in the future.

For now here is a summary highlighting the basic principals of the game that make it different from any other versions of five-a-side that you might have played before. There are 18 laws in all, covering the technical requirements of the ball and pitch through to the goalkeeper as an outfield player.

  • The pitch
    Futsal is played on a marked pitch and the ball can go out of play. The pitch is generally larger than conventional 5 a-side pitches to allow for over head height kicks.
    Length Max 42m Min 25m
    Width Max 25m Min 15m

  • The ball
    Is a fundamental factor in playing the game and is by virtue of the laws of the game required to be a smaller, heavier, ‘low bounce’ version of 11 a-side ball

  • Head height
    There are no restrictions as to how high the ball can be kicked in Futsal.

  • Rotating substitutions
    Up to 12 players can be used in one match and there is no limit on how long a player must stay on or off the pitch. Players must enter and leave the field of play via the ‘substitution zone’ that is marked on the pitch in front of the team’s benches.

  • Kick-ins
    In order to restart the game after a ball has gone out of play the ball is kicked back into play from the touchline and from corners. The ball must be placed stationary on the touchline and the feet of the player taking the kick-in must not cross the line.

  • The 4 second rule
    For kick-ins, free kicks, goal clearances and corner kicks the player in possession of the ball has 4 seconds to restart play which the referee will count with their fingers in the air. If play isn’t restarted within four seconds an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team. The goalkeeper is not allowed to control the ball for more than 4 seconds in his own half.

  • The 5m rule
    Players are required to keep 5m from the player in possession of the ball on free kicks, corners, goal clearances, kick-ins and penalties.

  • Goalkeepers
    Goalkeepers are allowed to come out of and players are allowed to go into the penalty area. A goal clearance must be thrown out and the goalkeeper cannot touch the ball again until it has crossed into the opponents half or a member of the opposition has touched the ball.

  • Accumulated fouls
    Each team will be allowed to give away 5 direct free kicks in each half, then on the sixth foul a direct kick is awarded to the opposing team and the defending team is not allowed to position any players (other than the goal keeper) between the ball and the goal. The kick may be taken from the 10m mark or, if the foul was committed closer to the goal than the 10m mark, then the kick may be taken from the position where the foul took place.

  • Real time
    A Futsal match consists of two twenty minute halves that are played real-time which means the clock stops whenever the ball goes out of play.

  • Time outs
    Each team is allowed a one-minute time out in each half lasting 60 seconds.

  • Sliding Tackles
    Sliding tackles are not allowed in Futsal but players are allowed to slide on the pitch, for example to stop the ball from going out of play. For a player sliding to be considered an offence, the tackler’s opponent must have possession of the ball. Referees will not give a foul for a slide if the opponent does not have possession of the ball.

  • Red Cards
    If a player is sent off then the team to which the player belongs must remain with 4 players until either two minutes have passed, or the opposition have scored a goal.

In an International Futsal match there are three referees and one timekeeper, here's what they should be responsible for:

First referee

The first referee is responsible for controlling the match and has full authority to enforce the laws of the game. They will keep a record of the match and provide the appropriate authorities with a match report if required and will act as a timekeeper if one isn’t present.

Second referee

The second referee is also permitted to use his whistle to stop the game for any infringement of the laws and will ensure that the substitutions are carried out correctly.

Third referee

The third referee assists the timekeeper and the other referees by recording details of the game on the match report sheet such as times of goals, stoppages and the number of accumulated fouls. The third referee should also try to control the bench area for the two teams, only allowing the coach to stand and give instruction to the players.