Futsal Rules and Regulations – A Beginner’s Guide To The Laws of An Exciting Sport

Futsal is a fast-paced, indoor alternative to the world’s most followed sport – Football. If you are already familiar with the sport and have seen teams playing it before, you’d probably know that the futsal rules and regulations are pretty similar to ones for Football and there are only a few important differences that set the two games apart. Here we have detailed all the important rules of the futsal game to help beginners start playing the game like a pro.

describing futsal rules in image

Futsal Rules and Regulations

As mentioned above, the Futsal rules are very similar to football, and if you have played football then you shouldn’t have much trouble understanding how the futsal game is played. While they are pretty similar to the Olympic soccer rules, the two sports are not the same. Let’s have a look at the rules of Futsal and understand the differences.

1. Teams

Futsal is a 5-a-side sport in which two teams of five players each compete. However, in the UEFA events, the teams have 14-player squads. All the 14 players can feature in every game, where 5 of them take the field at a time, and remaining 9 are available for substitutions.

2. Real Time

The game runs for a total of 40 minutes, which are divided into two halves (20 minutes each). There’s also a 15-minute break at half-time. A dedicated timekeeper takes care of the clock. The clock is stopped whenever there is a break in play or when the ball goes out of play. It restarts when the game resumes. During each half, the coaches can take a 60-sec time-out, but the time-outs are not allowed in the extra time.

In the case of a drawn game, two periods of extra time (5 minutes each) are played. If there is still no conclusive result to the game, it leads to a penalty shoot-out to decide the result.

3. Referees

The game is supervised by 3 officials or referees. One of them is on each touchline, while the third referee coordinates with the timekeeper to keep track of time-outs and fouls. The officials talk to each other during the game using different choreographed signals.

4. Substitutions

According to the Futsal rules, there are unlimited substitutions allowed in the game. The teams can make substitutions anytime during the game. However, the substitute players have to wait until the player being substituted comes off, and then they can take the field. They are supposed to get onto the pitch from the track facing either of the benches. Substitutions can be made one at a time or in a group.

5. Cards

Players have to leave the field if they get a direct red card or two yellow cards. After such a send-off, they can’t take the field in the same game, and the team has to continue play with four players for two minutes. However, they can regain full strength instantly if they concede in that time.

6. Accumulated Fouls

The penalties and free-kicks usually work the same way they do in football. But if a team commits 5 fouls in the same half, they concede a free shot at goal to their opponent with each subsequent foul. The free shot is taken from the secondpenalty mark or double penalty mark, which is ten metres out. If a player commits a foul near the goal, the free shot can be taken from exactly where the foul was committed. After half-time, the foul count starts from zero. However, the foul sheet is not wiped clean before either of the extra-time periods, and the fouls committed in the second half still count.

7. The 4-second rule

When taking free kicks, corner kicks, goal clearances, and kick-ins, the player with the ball must resume the game within 4 seconds. The referee raises his hand in the air and counts this time using fingers.

In case, if the play doesn’t resume within four seconds, the opposition is rewarded with an indirect free-kick. When the goalkeeper gets the ball, he must pass it on within four seconds and can’t control it in his half any longer.

8. Kick-in

Every time the ball crosses any of the touchlines or goes high enough to touch the ceiling, a kick-in is taken to resume the game. The kick-in is awarded to the team that didn’t touch the ball last before it went out of play.

The players can take a kick-in with their feet by placing the futsal ball on the touchline. They must ensure, however, that one of their feet is on or behind the touchline when taking the kick-in – at least, until the ball doesn’t come into play again. Furthermore, the teams can’t score a goal with a direct kick-in.

Futsal Goalkeeper Rules

goalkeeper in yellow jersey

Obviously, the goalkeeper game is slightly different from that of other players. Here are a couple of rules specific to the goalkeepers.

1. Penalty Area

Players from both teams are allowed to enter the penalty area. The goalkeeper is allowed to leave the penalty area as well and can move freely into the playing field like other players as they attack the opposition.

Once the goalkeeper has cleared the ball from their penalty area, they can’t touch it again until the ball goes into the opposition’s half or it’s been touched by a player from the opposing team. For goal clearances, the goalkeeper must throw the ball and not kick it out of the penalty area.

Any fouls committed by a defending player within the penalty area will result in a penalty kick, taken from the penalty mark 6 meters away from the goal line.

2. Flying Goalkeeper

According to the Futsal goalkeeper rules, a team can designate an outfield player as a temporary goalkeeper or flying goalkeeper during the game. When a player is designated as a flying goalkeeper, the team must notify the referees and everyone else on the field, including the opposing team.

The flying goalkeeper acts as a substitute goalkeeper and needs to wear the jersey of a goalkeeper with their own number on it. Furthermore, all the flying goalkeepers on the same team need to wear the jersey of the same color. However, it must be different from the jersey color of the regular goalkeepers on both the teams and the outfield players.

An outfield player who assumes the role of a flying goalkeeper has the same privileges as the regular goalkeeper and must abide by the same rules stipulated for the regular goalkeepers in the game. However, they can switch back to the role of an outfield player anytime and will be subject to the rules that apply to outfield players only. They must notify the referees when they do so, however.

3. General Goalkeeper Rules In Futsal

Besides the rules stipulated above, the following rules apply to the goalkeepers in Futsal.

  • Goalkeepers can move freely on the pitch anywhere but are allowed to handle the ball only when they are within their own penalty area
  • They can directly throw the ball into the half of the opposition
  • When they have the ball, either at their feet or in their hands, they must play it to an outfield player from their team within four seconds
  • They can only touch the ball again once it’s been touched by a player from the opposing team or if they get into the half of the opposition

Besides these general Futsal rules and futsal rules for goalkeepers, there are some futsal rules for kids as well that are mainly defined to make the game appropriate for their age group.

Futsal Rules For Kids

kids playing futsal in blue and red shirts

Futsal rules for kids are pretty much the same as the general guidelines given above, but there are a few exceptions. Some of these are listed below:

  • The field size can be smaller to adjust the playing area according to kids’ physical capabilities and age
  • Kids can reduce the number of players in the team to ensure the playing field is not overcrowded
  • The duration of the game can be shorter as well to match the endurance and attention span of players
  • Substitution rules can be a bit lenient to allow teams to rotate players more frequently
  • Kids may also use a smaller ball to play futsal as it will help with better handling and control of the futsal ball

With these futsal rules for kids, the game can be made fun and enjoyable for the younger players. It will also help them develop their skills as they grow and step into professional Futsal.

Futsal is an amazing game. It enhances the mental abilities of players and makes them more athletic. The game is fun and enjoyable, and if you make it big to the professional stage, you can even build a rewarding career in Futsal. If you manage to get there, you’ll be named among some of the greats of the Football world, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, and Christian Pulisic. They all used to play Futsal for skill development at some stage in their career.

So, learn the Futsal rules above, and step into the world of Futsal.