A situation which would be inconceivable in other forms of sport has become commonplace in futsal. Numerous futsal competitions staged around the world fail to comply fully with the official Futsal Laws of the Game as published by FIFA . In Spain for example, the ball is returned to play with the hand and not with the foot as stipulated, while in South America and a handful of European countries, the FIFA Futsal laws have been slightly modified.
This phenomenon has been tolerated for a number of years in order to promote and develop futsal as a sport, but one consequence has seen traditional football countries such as Spain and Brazil develop their own laws over the last two decades. However, given the current rapid development of the sport, the time has come to insist on uniformity, thus guaranteeing only one form of the sport to one set of rules in the future.
FIFA has issued a circular to its member associations ordering them to apply the FIFA Futsal Laws of the Game in all competitions staged by national associations.
From the 2006-7 season, the only permitted rules are the FIFA Futsal Laws of the Game. This decision prohibits all local variations to the laws, as these variations are now hindering the development and promotion of futsal.
Compliance with the laws will contribute to an improved profile and presence for futsal in the media and among the public, and will also aid coaches, players and referees, as they will no longer be confronted with different variations of the sport at international competitions. Most associations will not be affected, or will be affected only marginally by the order, although countries such as Spain and Brazil will now be required to adapt the sport as played within their jurisdiction to the FIFA laws.
With this decision, FIFA is signalling its determination to continue aggressively promoting the development of the sport. Consistent application of the FIFA laws also provides a uniform framework for discussion should national associations wish to suggest changes to the laws in the future.
FIFA General Secretary Dr. Urs Linsi concludes the circular by thanking national associations in advance for their valuable support in ensuring compliance.