Laws of the game

Understanding Laws of the Game


The official rules for Futsal – ‘The FIFA Futsal Laws of the Game’ are published by FIFA and cover all aspects of the rules that the game should be played to and the disciplinary actions that players face when they infringe on those rules. There are 18 laws in all, ranging in focus from the technical requirements of the ball and court through to the exact workings of the accumulated foul rule.  As an initial introduction to these laws, the basic principals of the game that make it different from any other versions of 5-a-side that you might have played are highlighted below:


  • The court – Futsal is played on a marked court and the ball can go out of play (see illustration for dimensions and layout of pitch)
  • The ball – Is a fundamental factor in making the game and is by virtue of the laws of the game required to be a smaller, heavier, ‘low bounce’ version of 11-a-side ball
  • Head height – There are no restrictions (apart form the ceiling of the sports hall!) as to how high the ball can be kicked in Futsal
  • Rotating substitutions – Up to 12 players can be used in one match and there is no limit on how long a player must stay on or off the pitch. Players must enter and leave the field of play via the ‘substitution zone’ that is marked on the pitch in front of the team’s benches
  • Kick-ins – In order to restart the game after a ball has gone out of play the ball is kicked back into play from the touchline and from corners. The ball must be placed stationary on the touchline and the feet of the player taking the kick-in must not cross the line
  • The 4 second rule – For kick-ins, free kicks, goal clearances and corner kicks the player in possession of the ball has 4 seconds to restart play which the referee will count with their fingers in the air. If play isn’t restarted within four seconds an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team. The goalkeeper is not allowed to control the ball for more than 4 seconds in his own half
  • The 5m rule – Players are required to keep 5m from the player in possession of the ball on free kicks, corners, goal clearances, kick-ins and penalties
  • Goalkeepers – Goalkeepers are allowed to come out of and players are allowed to go into the penalty area. A goal clearance must be thrown out and the goalkeeper cannot touch the ball again until it has crossed into the opponents half or a member of the opposition has touched the ball
  • Accumulated fouls – Each team will be allowed to give away 5 direct free kicks in each half, then on the sixth foul a direct kick is awarded to the opposing team and the defending team is not allowed to position any players (other than the goal keeper) between the ball and the goal. The kick may be taken from the 10m mark or, if the foul was committed closer to the goal than the 10m mark, then the kick may be taken from the position where the foul took place
  • Real time – A Futsal match consists of two twenty minute halves that are played realtime which means the clock stops whenever the ball goes out of play
  • Time outs – Each team is allowed a one time out in each half lasting 60 seconds
  • Sliding Tackles – Sliding tackles are not allowed in Futsal but players ARE allowed to slide on the court, for example to stop the ball from going out of play. For a player sliding to be considered an offense, the tackler’s opponent must have possession of the ball. Referees will not give a foul for a slide if the opponent does not have possession of the ball
  • Red Cards – If a player is sent off then the team to which the player belongs must remain with 4 players until either two minutes have passed, or the opposition have scored a goal


Rule Comparison
#5 Ball # 4 Ball—30% less bounce
11 Players5 Players
3 Substitutions Unlimited “Flying” Sub (12 Players on
Throw-in Kick-in
Running clockStopped clock
45 minutes halves20 minute halves
No Time-outs1 Time-out per half
Some contact No shoulder charges or sliding tackles
Goal kickGoal clearance (goalkeeper throw)
4 second rule on restarts
Offside RuleNo Offside Rule
Goalkeeper stepsNo Restrictions, but limited to 4 seconds
Unlimited fouling5 Foul Limit – No wall for Direct Free Kick
after 5th Foul
GK cannot touch by hand a ball
kicked back
GK cannot touch by hand any ball played
One back pass to allowed to GK (i.e. after
ball has crossed halfway-line or been
touched by an opponent)
No sub for player sent off Player sent off can be substituted for after
2 minutes or other has scored
Corner kick placed in archCorner kick placed on corner