Futsal history

Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small sided football game that originates from South America in the 1930s. It is widely played across the world and is the small sided football format that is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA.

Futsal began in Uruguay and Brazil where the large crowded cities and a shortage of playing pitches forced a football mad populace to play small sided football and in 1936 the first rules emerged. Futsal was the name chosen by FIFA, which is simply a combination of the Spanish words for ‘hall’ (Sala) and ‘football’ (Futbol): hence ‘Futsal, literally translated to mean ‘indoor football’.

It is played on a pitch slightly larger than that of a basketball or netball court with a ball which is smaller (size 4) and has a reduced bounce. As a consequence, the game places considerable demand on technique, movement and fitness, with players constantly placed in situations where they must receive or play whilst under pressure or in confined spaces.

Futsal is a great skill developer, demanding quick reflexes, fast thinking and pinpoint passing. The speed of play is such that you are forced to make quicker technical and tactical decisions.

The nature of the game provides an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game. Many of the Premier League and worlds most recognisable football players have a background playing Futsal and credit it with supporting their footballing development. Professional footballers including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Pele, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi, Iniesta amongst many more who benefited from Futsal in their youth.


Doug Reed explores Futsal – Past, Present & Future