Futsal is played with a half size and heavier ball on a small court. Having a small playing area forces all players to fully participate and be involved, which in turn fast-tracks the attainment of technique.
Futsal began in the South American countries of Uruguay and Brazil where, in the 1930’s, two versions of Small Sided Soccer were being played in the cities of Montevideo and Sao Paulo respectively. In Brazil, the large crowded cities and a shortage of playing pitches forced a soccer mad populace to play small sided soccer. 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. Skills and techniques honed in Futsal soon began to become apparent in the performance of Brazil’s National Team – Pele, Rivelino and Zico all played the game at some time in their development.
The adoption of the game by FIFA has led to its spread throughout the world. There are large numbers of registered players in Europe, South America and Asia. There are more than 50 national leagues and even Professional Futsal leagues in Brazil, Iran, Japan, Italy, Portugal, Spain & Russia. Futsal gets terrestrial TV coverage in Spain, Italy, Brazil, Croatia, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.
Futsal is the fastest growing indoor sport in the world, and is the small sided football format that is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA. The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, and is subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game.
Futsal was the name chosen by FIFA, which is simply a combination of the Spanish words for ‘hall’ (Sala) and ‘football’ (Futbol): hence ‘Futsal’.
Many of the top world class footballers played Futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their footballing development; players of the calibre of Pele, Zico, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Lionel Messi to name but a few of the South American legends who all played and enjoyed Futsal. But Futsal has not just helped produce South American football stars. On the European stage Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Xavi and Fabregas, amongst many others, have played Futsal to develop their skills.