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The Difference between Soccer and Futsal In History, Rules and Equipment

Futsal is a variant of soccer (football) that is played between two teams on the indoor hard-court surface with five players in each team (4 players and one goalie). The court size is approximately 40m L 20m W. The Futsal ball circumference is between 62cm and 64cm.  Average weight is 430 grams.

The actual playing time of Futsal is 40 minutes (20 minutes of two periods with 15 minutes break-time in between).

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There can be unlimited substitutions for a player from the bench area. The decision of the referee is stated to be final and there shall be no appeals. The game is played between the two touch-lines and two goal lines of the hard court (wood or artificial-material).

The History of Futsal: From Its Beginnings in Uruguay Until Now..

Futsal started in Uruguay

difference between futsal and soccer

The earliest version of Futsal is reportedly from Montevideo in Uruguay in the year 1930. The YMCA physical education trainer Juan Carlos Ceriani Gravier is accepted as the original creator of Futsal.  The name Futsal is stated to be derived from fútbol de salón from Spanish and futebol de salão in Portuguese.

A similar game played on a smaller size court and on the streets was observed in Sao Paulo Brazil roughly during the same time. The game became popular in the Latin American countries from the 1930s to 1980s.

Futsal World Championship

The first Futsal world championship was held in the year 1982 in Sao Palo Brazil. Ten countries participated in the event. The teams were mainly from Latin America and Europe with Japan being the lone Asian country.

Brazil beat Paraguay 1:0 in the final on June 6, 1982, to win the first Futsal world championship trophy. FIFUSA merged into FIFA in 1989. Since then the championships are held once in 4 years all over the world.

The last championship was held in Columbia where Argentina beat Russia 5-1. The next championship is scheduled in the year 2010 at Lithuania. The number of for 2016 was 24. Today Futsal is being played in more than 60 countries all over the world.

Futsal in the USA

Futsal in the USA seems to have gained popularity during the 80s. The first official game of Futsal was in the year 1983 with the formation of a league.  Osvaldo Garcia was the first president of the association which came to be called as FIFUSA.

US national Futsal championship started in the year 1985. It was the year in which many national leagues were formed. Called as Mini-Soccer, Futsal has more than 1,100 clubs for boys and girls all over the USA today.

Futsal in Europe

The first European Futsal championship was held in the year 1996 with qualified six teams. Since then, it is being held after every two years until 2018 Slovenia. Portugal beat Spain 3-2 in the final. The next Championship is scheduled for 2022 with 16 teams for which the venue is still undecided.

Futsal in Asia

The first Asian Futsal Championship was held in the year 1999. Since then it is being held every year. Malaysia hosted the first event in 1999 where Iran beat South Korea 9-1. The latest championship was held in Chinese Taipei in 2018 where Iran beat Japan 4-0. Iran has been the most successful team with 12 wins in the finals so far. Japan comes next with 3 wins.

Futsal in Africa

Futsal started in Africa with the Confederation of African Football in the year 1996. Since then the tournament is being held after every 4 years. It is also considered as the qualification tournament for the FIFA world cup.

There have been five championships since 1996. Egypt has been the most successful team with three wins in the finals. Today Futsal is played in more than 20 African nations.

Difference Between Futsal and Soccer Equipment

  • Goal: Futsal goal measures 3mX2m in dimension and a depth of 0.8m at the Crossbar. Base depth is 1m. Soccer goal measures 7.32m X 2.44m in dimension.
  • Gear: The Futsal players wear numbered shirts, shorts, and socks. The protective gears include cups, knee pads, elbow pads, headgear (goalie), shin guards and cleats. The soccer players also wear almost the same type of uniform and protective gears except for the head-gear.
  • Futsal Court: Futsal court measures 40m length X 20m width in the USA. The minimum recommended dimension is 31m in length and 16m in width. The surface can be made of wood, polymeric or rubber. Penalty area (Bow shape) length (including the goal) is 6 meters where the first penalty point is located. The second penalty point is located at a distance of 10 meters from the goal line at the center of its width. The half-way circle on the line has a radius of 3 meters.
  • Soccer Court: The FIFA standard soccer court measures a maximum of 120mX 90m and minimum of 90m X 45m. The soccer field is generally on the outdoor, made of natural or artificial turf with green painting. The half-way ring on the line measures 9.15m in radius.The penalty area (square shape) measures 16.5m in length. The first penalty point is 11m from the center of the goal and the second penalty point at a distance of 9.15m from the first point.

Difference Between Futsal Vs Soccer Rules

– Players

  • Futsal Players: Five players will be on the court during the play time. The number of substitutions will be unlimited. The maximum number of players on the bench will be five.
  • Soccer Players:   Every team has eleven players on the field. Maximum of three substitutes can be used in an international match according to FIFA. The national A-team matches can have six substitutes.

– Corners

  • Futsal Corner: Corner is at the meeting point of goal-line (along with the width) and touch-line (along with the length). The corner arc has a radius of 25cm. The corner is awarded in Futsal when the ball touches the defender player and goes over goal-line without a goal.
  • Soccer corner: There are two corners (long and short) in soccer. The long corner is the free kick taken from the opposition team’s flag-point. The short corner is from the arc at the meeting point of goal-line and touch-line. The corner arc has a radius of one meter. The law for awarding the short corner kick in soccer is the same as Futsal. The long corner is taken when the defending team hits the ball behind the back-line.

– Fouls

  • Futsal Fowls: The Fouls in Futsal can result in the direct/indirect free kick or penalty kick. Free kicks are awarded for tripping/pushing/wrongfully tackling an opponent, physical kick on the opponent, holding an opponent, or ball handling. Penalty kicks are given then the fouls are committed within the penalty area of the defending team. The referee keeps track of a player’s direct free kick fouls (accumulated). The goalie can stand at a distance of 5 meters from the goal-line until the penalty kick is taken.
  • Soccer Fouls: Most of the soccer fouls are same as the Futsal fowls for the awarding of free and penalty kicks. At present, there are no accumulated fouls in soccer.

– Cards

Futsal has yellow (caution) and red (disqualification from the game) cards. Two yellow cards will result in one red card. The same rules apply in the soccer sports also. The awarding of sanctions depends on the observations made by the referee on the players’ conduct during the play.

– Duration

  • Futsal: The standard duration of 40 minutes is split into two halves of 20 minutes. The break time is 15 minutes. If the ball goes out of play, the referee stops the clock and resumes once it is put back onto the field. The clock doesn’t stop after the goal. The clock is also stopped during injuries and interruptions. Substitution player can enter the field two minutes after the injured player leaves the field. If the opponent scores a goal during that time, the substitution player may enter the field before two minutes. The goalie has to play the ball within four seconds of acquiring it. There is no off-side in Futsal unlike in Soccer.
  • Soccer: The standard duration of 90 minutes is split into two halves of 45 minutes. The break time is 15 minutes. There is no stopping of the clock in Soccer unlike in Futsal. It keeps running all the time. The referee adds extra time to the play-time for injuries; ball out of play, foul, substitutions etc. hence, the game doesn’t stop after ninety minutes, if there are any stoppages during the play.

– Over-time

  • Futsal: Over-time is awarded when a match ends in the tie at the play-off stage in a tournament. The Golden-goal rule allows 10 minutes of extra play with two halves of five minutes. In the end, it will be five penalty kick shoot-out to decide the winner.
  • Soccer: Over-time in soccer is in two-ten-minute halves. The five penalty shootout of Futsal applies to soccer also.


We have the most critical factors from Futsal history and rules with differences between the game and soccer. As you can see, the variant of soccer has acquired many similarities. The differences can be seen in the dimension, duration, and type of game and the utilities.

The rules and regulations for Futsal and soccer may get amended depending on the FIFA guidelines changes. The rules may also vary between the national, club, and the FIFA regulated international championships to a varying degree.

If you are interested in learning more about the Futsal rules and regulations, you can visit our website links and explore deeper.


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Patrick Richardson
I am a huge soccer fanatic who created this blog to help you find the best deal for soccer equipment.

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