What is Futsal?

Futsal is FIFA and UEFA’s recognized format of 5-a-side football that in recent years has been embraced by The Football Association. Played inside on a futsal ‘court’ with a smaller, heavier ball that encourages ball mastery and ball control, the game is played with rhythm and speed that creates quick and controlled pass and move combinations. Originally known as futebol de salao, the name was abbreviated when FIFA became the governing body for sport in 1989. Since then, World and European Championships have taken place, with Brazil and Spain currently occupying the top two places in the FIFA Futsal World Rankings. But now, Futsal is gathering speed in England.

With the FA making positive strides in changing the way our youth players play and are trained, Futsal is also receiving deserved attention. Whether from the lips of some of the world’s finest players or from the research that has been dedicated to the development of talent, one cannot escape the benefits of Futsal.

“Every boy in Brazil started in futsal – me, Oscar, David Luiz, Ramires, Neymar, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Robinho – everyone”

- Lucas Piazon, Chelsea FC.

Both Matthew Syed and Daniel Coyle discuss the scientific advantages of playing futsal in their respective best-selling books ‘Bounce’ and ‘The Talent Code’ that discuss the development of talent. Futsal, as they discuss, is deep practice, and Xavi Hernandez, of Spain and FC Barcelona, agrees:
Both Matthew Syed and Daniel Coyle discuss the scientific advantages of playing futsal in their

“In futsal, you see whether a player is really talented. In normal football you don’t necessarily identify talent as easily because it’s so much more physical. But with futsal, you notice the small details in quality, class and tactical understanding”


According to a Liverpool University study, futsal players benefit from touching the ball six times more often per minute than players playing football. The nature of the ball promotes ball mastery and the indoor surface means that the game is quick and intense, with limited time for decision making. Angles and spaces dominate the game whilst players develop creativity and vision that help them pass and move as a group thus developing game intelligence. Xavi’s description of “quality, class and tactical understanding” highlights the focus of ball mastery and game intelligence.

Futsal develops masters of the ball, creative masters of the ball. Futsal develops intelligent players; intelligent, thinking players. Futsal produces deep practice.  And in our eyes, deep practice, produces talent.