The Futsal low-down

  • Govindan Kishwar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2016 18:52 IST
Futsal, a form of street football is growing in popularity and reaches Indian shores on July 15. (Getty Images)

Remember playing football as a kid? You’d gather up friends---even two would do---find a small space, get the most tattered looking ball ever and then kick it about for hours? Ahhh…youth. You can make money off it, apparently, and after having the Indian Premier League, the Indian Super League, Pro Kabaddi League…etc. there is now Premier Futsal. Most would have an broad idea of what it means if that have watched videos of a young Ronaldinho on small indoor pitches or played any of the Fifa street games.

For those of you who don’t, we have you covered. Here are some quick pointers for you before you tune in today to watch the first match.

Small teams

Futsal is a five-a-side game, with goals around the size of those in hockey. The ball used is smaller than the regular size five ball too, which means it bounces less and is easier to control. After all, who wants to be the guy who is always sent after a stray ball.

Even smaller matches

Unlike regular football with two halves of 45 minutes each, Futsal matches are of 20 minutes each. What makes the game quicker is the fact that the ball can never go out of play, meaning the referee would not have to stop the game unless a player is injured.

The classic one-two

Speaking of the ball never going out of play, we have all loved and drooled over the kind of football Barcelona and Brazil play, with the one-two moves between two to three players in a triangle. Here, the wall can be used as a teammate when in a tight position. The move started on the narrow streets of the Brazilian Favelas (a slum within urban areas), where kids kicked a ball towards the wall at an angle, ran past the opponent and received it back.

Non-stop action

The offside rules does not apply, neither is there a limit on the number of substitutions. Even a player who was sent can be replaced by a teammate once the other team scores or after a two-minute interval.

Clean games

Players are not allowed to shoulder barge or slide tackle an opponent, doing so would be considered a foul. Portugal’s hard-tackling Pepe would not be a fan.

Small pitches

The length of the Futsal field is usually between 38-42 metres, with a width of 20-25m.

Big stars

From former greats Ronaldino, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Hernan Crespo and Michel Soldado to the top Futsal player in the world, Falcao (no not the Manchester United and Chelsea flop), will be taking part.

Six teams

The first edition of Premier Futsal, from July 15-24, will have six teams--- Chennai, Mumbai, Kochi, Goa, Kolkata and Bangalore.

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