What is Futsal? Tell me more, tell me more…..

Futsal is in its essence a small-scale indoor version of Football.The evolution of Futsal was a confluence of events that revolved around Football, including the culmination of different paradigms, international influences and the pragmatism to play. The genesis of the sport is not easily attributable to a specific time and place, but more a sequence of events that led to its creation.

Futsal is a sport played indoors on a smaller pitch than an outdoor football field. It uses a size four ball that has a lower bounce than an outdoor football to encourage the use of the ball on the ground, which in turn promotes increased foot skills and technical development. Complementing the sport of Futsal and a sport in its own right, is Futebol De Salao. Futebol De Salao is played under the same framework as Futsal, but the main difference is that it uses a size 2 ball, that is heavier and with virtually no bounce. It is important to be aware of these two sports and their identities as they represent how the games were created and evolved to suit the needs of different participants in different countries.

Futebol was introduced in Latin America by an Englishman Charles Miller from Southampton, who travelled to Sao Paulo in Brazil. Charles Miller carried two footballs and an FA rule book with him, and used them to introduce the game to Brazil. At first Futebol was only played in schools and athletic clubs for Europeans or individuals of European ancestry. The  majority of the population, lacking the resources to attend the schools or join athletic clubs where Futebol was played, fell in love with the game but could only play pick-up games. As large cities did not have the land available to create outdoor pitches, the resourceful public created their own games with what facilities and equipment they had available. They created their own games which in turn created a new sport. Whether it first occurred in Brazil as some argue or in 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the first Futebol de Salao was played and replicated. The 5 vs 5 game quickly became very popular.

As the game was played it became more formalised at higher levels. The original 5 vs 5 involved a static 1-3 with a single defender who never attacked and three attackers who did not defend. In the 1950’s the static 2-2 system with two defenders who never attacked and two attackers who never defended became popular. In the late 1950’s the first dynamic game system with player movement to create greater goal scoring chances, the 3-1 (played as a 1-2-1)  was first introduced. The modern 3-1 features three defenders and a single point (or target) player up top, but with dynamic movement by all four players to create scoring chances on the attack and to apply pressure and deny scoring chances on the defense. This style of play forces the players to learn all aspects of the modern game.
Futsal had not yet been codified yet, but in 1989 FIFA attempted to take control of Futebol de Salao. This failed as their plans to televise the sport were not possible due to the size of the ball being so small, it would have been indecipherable on TV. Sensing the opportunity but requiring a different strategy, they created a new version of the game and promoted it to the world. The new game was to be called Futsal. The name Futsal is the combination of both a Portugese term Futebol De Salao (“hall football”) and a Spanish term Futbol Sala. The culmination of these terms into the classification name Futsal has resulted in it being adopted officially internationally. In the process new rules were implemented. The biggest change was the reduction of the balls weight and the increase of its size from 2 to size 4, and in turn making it visible on TV screens.
And so Futsal was born.
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