Futsal is the official format of Small Sided Football that is recognised and supported by FIFA, UEFA and the FAW. There is a FIFA Futsal World Cup and a UEFA European Championships for National teams. In addition club champions from across Europe progress to a Champions League format competition named the UEFA Futsal Cup.
Futsal originated in the South American countries of Uruguay and Brazil where a shortage of playing pitches forced a football population to play small sided football. A version began to develop on the streets 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.
Pele "In Futsal you have to be able to think and play quickly. That makes it easier later when you switch to football" (FIFA World 2012)
A host of the world’s most famous and talented players have honed their skills and techniques in Futsal. From Pele, Rivelino, and Zico to the modern generation of Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta and Xavi all played the game as part of their development. These players have attributed their success in the eleven a side game to the skills they picked up in Futsal.
Lionel Messi "When I was a young boy in Argentina, I played futsal in the street and in a club. It was great fun and helped me to become the player I am today" (FIFA World 2012)
The rule of Futsal are very similar to eleven a side football with many of the skills and techniques transferable. Futsal is a five a side game, played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey/handball sized goals and a size 4 ball with a 30% reduced bounce. It is played to touchlines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head height. In Futsal players are constantly placed in situations where they must receive or play whilst under pressure in confined spaces. The demands of the game mean players must develop excellent technical ability, vision and awareness, decision making under pressure and cope with the fast paced physical requirements of the game.
These demands make Futsal an excellent development tool for young players as they are provided with a large number of opportunities to be in possession of the ball and practice techniques and skills.