Futsal at the FFA Nationals.


No longer is Futsal an "Off Season Game". It is a sport in it's own right, as decreed by FIFA. It has it's own World Cup and in Victoria, under the auspices of the FFV, the sport is played 12 months of the year. The game is becoming more professional in it's administrative structure and this is reflected in the quality of the players at various Futsal clubs in the JSL Premier League.

The following is an abbreviated description from the FFV’s website;

“Futsal is the only form of ‘indoor soccer’ or ‘five-a-side’ that is officially approved by FIFA and Football Federation Australia. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world, is played in over 100 countries and boasts millions of players around the world. The name "Futsal" comes from the merging of the Spanish/Portuguese words for football (Futbol or Futebol) and the French or Spanish word for "Indoor" (Salon or Sala). Following changes at international level between FIFA (Federation Internationale Football Association) and FIFUSA (Federation of Internationale De Futbol Sala) the sport became united with the outdoor version of the game, in 1989.

The game of Futsal is played on a firm, flat surface on a court ranging in size from that of a standard basketball court to the full FIFA International size of 42 x 25 metres. The special feature of the game is the unique properties of the ball, which has a low rebound. The game develops close individual ball skills as the court is small and players are forced into limited space & option scenarios.

Games are usually fast-paced, with players receiving more touches and are constantly placed in demanding decision making, limited space situations that they would face on a greatly reduced scale playing 11-a side outdoor soccer. Because the sport is a great skill developer, demanding quick reflexes, fast thinking, and pinpoint passing, it is an exciting game for children as well as adults.

The game in Australia had its foundations in Sydney at the Revesby YMCA in 1972. Dawn Gilligan introduced the game to Australia, frustrated after yet another wet outdoor soccer season. Since then the game has slowly taken off and there is now around 30,000 registered Futsal players around Australia.

In 2004, FIFA declared that all National Associations take responsibility for Futsal in their countries. The FFA has therefore formed a National Futsal Commission to be responsible for all Futsal activities in Australia.

Playing Futsal allows you to touch the ball nearly twelve times more than playing football. The game places considerable demand on technique, movement, tactical awareness and fitness. Futsal is a great skill developer which demands quick reflexes, fast thinking, and pinpoint passing. The speed of play is such that you are forced to make quicker technical and tactical decisions.

Although FIFA acknowledges the importance of Futsal as a game in its own right, it has resisted the temptation to diverge too far from the principles of 11-a-side football, designing the rules to ensure continuity with the classic outdoor game."


Copied from "Football Friends On Line".....a great article!

The rise of futsal and it’s influence on football

Futsal is growing worldwide unsurprisingly given its positive influence on football, more countries than ever are playing the sport, with FIFA describing it as the “fastest growing indoor sport in the world.”

Futsal is commonly regarded as the reason English footballers lack the technique and aptitude of their South American and even European counterparts.  Its a game suited to quick possession passing, there is an emphasis on creativity and flair which would convince a lot of people that futsal is a game for the hipster.  Well, that intertwined with the fact that it isn’t played by the masses here yet.  For some reason having reached the shores of England officially in 2003, the game hasn’t really caught on as first anticipated.  But this could all be about to change if futsal is introduced to the 2020 Olympics, having disappointedly already been announced that futsal wont feature at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The game itself was established in Uruguay in 1930 and the rules are simple.  Its 5 a side, the ball is slightly smaller with less bounce, the goals are hockey goals and the dimensions of the pitch are small to say the least.  To create a constant style of play, there are only “kick ins” rather than throw ins, players and goalkeepers have to take these within 4 seconds.  There is a strict policy on slide tackles but other than that any normal physical contact between players is fine.  The rules set the scene for a battle of technical ability and craft, the lack of space means that players have to be intelligent with possession, which encourages dribbling round the opposition or promotes the player to envision a creative pass they wouldn’t usually play in any average game of football.  Its a game that constantly has the players involved and touching the ball.  The sport is commonly perceived as a training tool for youth players but due to the growth in it globally, there are now professional leagues and international competition.

The nations that excel at futsal start playing at a young age, in a lot of cases all they do is play futsal and don’t actually play 11 a side until after the age of ten.  The top three futsal teams in the world are Brazil, Spain and Italy.  Brazil have been a dominant force in 11 a side football for years.  Spain, the current world champions faced Italy in the finals of the Euro’s in the summer just gone.  Could it be that playing futsal from a young age has honed these footballers technique making them the greats of our generation?  There seems to be a correlation between futsal and success in football.

The sport comes with its own seal of approval and is endorsed by the biggest and best footballers in the world, Messi and Ronaldo recognise how futsal has contributed to making them the well rounded players they are today.  David Villa played until the age of 9, such is the way in Spain and he still plays with friends now.  Villa says “Futsal is a bit more technical than football.  I also think that because you play a shorter amount of time, there are different physical requirements, because you need to run constantly.”  In fact the style in which Barcelona play has drawn comparisons to futsal, Villa accepts this observation, “especially when when attacking with all those short passes between many players, handling the ball well and keeping a lot of possession.”   Falcao, not the long haired Columbian who leads the line for Athletico Madrid and is setting La Liga on fire with his goalscoring, but Brazilian Falcao, a legend of the game, recently scored a goal that made its way on to footballing websites around the world.   It can only be described as an audacious flick from a laid off free kick, much to the astonishment of the players around him.  This type of publicity will only help the sport to grow.

Doug Reed plays futsal for the England national team, he plays his club futsal for a team in Serbia as there he gets a professional contract and can train 7 days a week as opposed to two days a week which he did previously at the Manchester Futsal Club.  He believes the sport is growing and will continue to do so, “futsal is already established in many parts of the world such as Southern and Eastern Euope and South America.  In other places it is growing strongly, noticeably in Asia and Northern Europe.  It is already one of the most popular sports worldwide for participation levels.  Now it needs to grow in its professionalism and organisation.”  Reed conceives that in the UK there is very little awareness for futsal.  The FA have recognised this and are determined to change this, they have developed the National Futsal League, Youth Futsal Festival, Under 18′s Futsal Championships and a few other projects that are now coinciding with each other.  With millions of pounds currently invested in the sport in England in order to open 15 new indoor clubs across the country over the next 2 to 3 years the future is bright for futsal.

English football is evolving and in particular the Premiership, physicality is no more, over the past few years tackling has been forced out of the game because most challenges are penalised these days and the emphasis has shifted to intercepting and pressure instead, hence the death of the “midfield destroyer” position.  For the most part football clubs in England would only promote youth team players based on their size and strength, however now small technical players are thriving in the premiership but they tend to be the foreign imports, such as Juan Mata, David Silva and Santi Cazorla. With this in mind futsal is the game required to help English players nurture their technical ability, to bridge the game between them and the leading International teams.  For English football it is essential that futsal catches on in order for the sport to be played at a professional level and compete with the likes of Brazil and Spain.  It is now recognised as vital in the development of the modern day footballer. The Olympics in 2020 could well be the stage that the sport requires to gain that extra popularity to reach extreme heights.

You can follow Doug Reed and how the England Futsal team are performing on Dougs Twitter @dougreedfutsal

Adam Deacon