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What is Futsal and why is it so popular?

What is Futsal and why is it so popular?
With the surge in Futsal's popularity in the UK, we took a deep dive into the sport to uncover its benefits for young players. We explored why some parents are considering it as a complement to traditional football, a winter training idea and also as a fantastic stand-alone sport in its own right.

What is Futsal?

Futsal is an incredibly compelling, fast-paced, mentally stimulating game which England is relatively new to, compared to the more developed Futsal nations that include Spain, Brazil and Italy. France, along with the UK, is currently investing more time and money into moving forward with its neighbours.
Futsal, a format of indoor football, has a rich history, originating in Uruguay in the 1930s. Juan Carlos Ceriani (a teacher in Montevideo, Uruguay) developed it for indoor recreation in YMCAs, leading to its rapid spread throughout South America, particularly in Brazil. The appeal of Futsal in the UK has grown recently due to its worldwide popularity, endorsement by elite football players, and the dynamic, high-energy nature of the game, which provides entertainment for spectators.
Futsal requires intelligence and skill. Each player gets far more touches on the ball than in football, adding to the satisfaction and fun for players, especially those who already play football. Futsal players have to be more creative and agile, alongside the need for teamwork, communication, and tactical awareness.
We spoke with Mary Pacitti, a UEFA B Futsal Coach and experienced Grassroots Coach. She is currently Chairman/Manager of Chiltern Futsal. Mary is committed to creating chances for girls and boys to enjoy futsal and play it at the highest level. An 8 year project has seen Mary work with 8– 18 year old girls, boys, also men and women in T3 and T1 of the National League.

Photo caption: Mary Pacitti (right) with Rachel Oware (left) from Chiltern Futsal.

Mary tells us that; “Futsal is an incredibly exciting sport – 99% of people who play or watch it once are hooked! As players LOVE the game it’s much more likely to keep players playing and therefore fit and healthy.
Futsal is more inclusive for children compared to traditional football as there is a less entrenched culture and so far, less negativity and ‘strong opinions’ surrounding it. So the environment, based on my personal experiences - is far more suitable for children.
Most people who also play football find that their game improves dramatically about 6 weeks after starting (with regular training and great coaches!)
There is no need to have kicked a ball before you start to learn to play Futsal. Also there is a warm dry hall – every time!
Any parent interested in playing, anywhere in England – please get in touch and I will try to point you in the right direction. 100% guarantee no one will regret trying futsal!”
You can reach out to Mary via her Twitter account -
Or instagram 

What are the rules of Futsal?
Futsal follows a distinct set of rules, played on a hard surface with designated pitch lines, and includes unique goals and balls. Matches are 5-a-side, including a goalkeeper, with substitutes who can be used without stopping the game.
A standard Futsal game consists of two 20-minute halves, with stopped clock when the ball is out, taking an average half to about 38 minutes.
Futsal has unique rules such as no offsides, kick ins not throw ins – as well as accumulated fouls – leading to a penalty for each foul after the 5th one per half.
Check out the full UEFA rules here.

Is Futsal good for developing skills for grassroots football?

The smaller pitches and fewer players in Futsal compel participants to constantly seek space, improve their passing accuracy, and focus on ball possession, making it an excellent training tool for developing technical skills. The Football Association in England has been actively promoting Futsal as a developmental tool, further contributing to its rising popularity. Futsal is played on a hard pitch with small-sided teams, emphasising technical skill in restricted spaces.
The game involves two five-a-side teams competing to outscore each other, similar to football. With a smaller and heavier ball, as well as hockey-sized goals, Futsal focuses on simple and repeatable tactics, playing principles, and match experience, making it an exciting and fast-paced game that can also help players improve their technique and control for traditional football if they play both sports.  

What size ball is recommended for Futsal for children?

In the UK, Futsal uses size 3 and size 4 balls. The FA recommends using a size 3 Futsal ball for players under 12 years of age, and a size 4 Futsal ball for players 12 years and older – (the sizes are different from sizes 3 & 4 regular footballs).

Who can play Futsal?

The simple format and flexible court size and possible small squad size make the game accessible and inclusive. You only need to have 10 players to have a match!! The absence of the tricky off side rule, combined with the sport's dynamic and skill focused nature, make Futsal an ideal sport for children of all ages and ability to adopt. 

Where can parents find their local Futsal venue?

To find out more about Futsal and where you can play in your area visit the FA Website 


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