Futsal is the format of Small Sided Football that is recognised and supported by FIFA and UEFA. There is a UEFA Futsal Cup for clubs, and UEFA Futsal Championships and FIFA World Championship for national teams.
Futsal is a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size 4 ball with a reduced bounce. It is played to touchlines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head-height. Games are 20 minutes per half, played to a stopping clock (similar to basketball) with time-outs permitted. There are a number of differences to our traditional version of small-sided football, but the dominant elements are the absence of rebound boards and amendments in the laws that encourage and foster skilful, creative play above the physical contact that tends to be a feature of English five-a-side.
Futsal is an exciting, fast-paced small-sided game and the nature of it places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, and is subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be transitioned into the traditional formats of the game.
Many of the top world class footballers played Futsal in their youth and credit the game as a brilliant footballing development tool. Players like Pele, Zico, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Lionel Messi to name just a few of the South American legends to have all played and enjoyed Futsal. But Futsal has not just helped produce South American football stars, on the European stage Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Xavi, Fabregas amongst many others to have played Futsal during their youth.