Let’s start with what you play it with. Football uses a size five ball, futsal uses a size four. But that’s not all. The futsal ball has 30% less bounce and is heavier than a football, encouraging players to keep it on the ground and helping them with control.
Football has eleven players, futsal has five. It is not simply five-a-side football though, it is the only form of small-sided format of football recognised by the FIFA and UEFA, with it’s own set of brilliant rules, like foul counts.
The concession of a foul is the same in football and futsal, but there’s an added edge in futsal. Each half, each team can make five fouls, but on the sixth foul, the opposition team get a ten metre penalty. Every foul after the sixth foul also results in a ten metre penalty too! You can also have rolling substitutes, and as many as you’d like compared to football’s limited number.
Not only are the halves 20 minutes long rather than 45 minutes long, there’s a dedicated time keeper that stops the clock every time there’s a stop in play. That means no extra time in futsal, but brilliant buzzer shots and last minute madness. Teams also get a timeout to reconvene and strategise.
Football is outside on a pitch, futsal is inside on a court. The courts are also a lot smaller – 20 to 40 metres, while football pitches are between 68 and 105 metres. What does this mean? More touches, more skills, more goals.