The main differences between futsal and the traditional game of 5-aside soccer are the type of ball that is used, the size of the playing area, and the way the game is refereed.  The futsal ball is smaller and made of leather with a lower bounce to encourage the development of ball control and tight ‘one touch’ passing.

The pitch is generally larger than most traditional 5-a-side playing areas and must be between a certain length and width (basically the size of a basketball court) as set out in the FIFA laws of the game. The use of walls is not allowed, whilst kick-ins are taken if the ball leaves the playing area. The goals are taller than traditional 5-aside goals and are much more the size of hockey or hand ball goals.

Four match officials will run the game – two referees, one timekeeper, and one to control the team benches. A strict no-contact law is enforced by the referees – protecting the attacking players and encouraging skill and flair in the game. Rolling substitutes are used with each team allowed up to twelve players.

Teams & Players

  • Each team can have 10 players on any match day
  • Unlimited rolling substitutions made from teams zone
  • 1 goalkeeper and 4 outfield players
  • Goalkeepers can be replaced by an outfield sub if team is chasing the game
  • If the ball exits via a defending player a corner is awarded
  • If the ball exits via a forward the game is restarted from the goalkeepers hand
  • If a team has less than 3 players the game is abandoned
  • If a team goes down to less than 3 players due to a sending off or injury the game is awarded
    to the other team

Pitch & Match

  • Futsal is played in 3 x 2m hockey style goals
  • Futsal is played to touch and restarted with a kick in from where the ball went out.
  • The ball is allowed overhead height
  • Players are allowed in goalkeepers area and can score from anywhere on the pitch
  • Futsal match duration is 40 min, 2 x 20 min”
  • Futsal is a non contact sport with no shoulder charges and sliding tackles allowed
  • Players are not allowed to play the ball when on the ground, Game is played with a size 4, 30%
    heavier futsal ball
  • If a team commits 5 fouls in a half every subsequent foul is punished by a 10m penalty irrespective of where the foul is made
  • Regular penalties are taken from 6m and are awarded when an offence is committed in the
    penalty area

Kick Off

  • Kick off is taken from the half way line at the start of each half and after a goal is scored
  • A goal may not be scored direct from a kick off


  • Goalkeepers can only handle the ball in their own area
  • Goalkeepers must where a different colour top to outfield players
  • Goalkeepers can leave the area as in 11 a side

Key Differences to 11-a-side Football

The latest edition of the FIFA Futsal handbook contains 18 laws along with an annex. FIFA does not allow the reproduction or translation of the booklet in whole or in part without there explicit permission. For now we may only produce a link to the FIFA site where the rules are located.

Click the link to view the rules of Futsal, note that the rules are in .pdf format, so you will need Adobe Acrobat to read them.

FIFA Website: Rules of Futsal

Below are a list of key differences between Futsal and 11-a-side football.

  • Small ball with reduced bounce. Size 4.
    (Juniors may use Size 3)
  • 5 players
  • Unlimited “flying” substitutions
  • Kick-in
  • Main referee and assistant referee with nearly identical responsibility , plus timekeeper were possible.
  • Stopped clock operated by timekeeper
  • 20-minute halves
  • 1 time-out per team per half
  • Goal clearance (goalkeeper throw ‘s the ball out )
  • No shoulder charges or sliding tackles
  • 4-second rule on restarts
  • None
  • Goal keeper 4 second rule at all times when in own half.
  • Goal keeper cannot handle any ball deliberately played back to him
  • 5-foul limit and then penalty from a second penalty spot 2 meters behind main penalty spot.
  • After every back pass to the GK the ball must cross the halfway-line or be touched by an opponent before the ball can again be passed back to the GK.
  • Player sent off can be substituted after 2 minutes has elapsed or opponent has scored.
  • Corner kick placed on corner
  • Opposition players retreat 5 mtrs at kickins & free kicks