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FIFA Futsal World Cup

A quick guide to the rules of futsal

Action photo of the match between Colombia and Paraguay at the South American Futsal Tournament played in Gramado, Brasil, April 18 2012 (Photo: courtesy of Zerosa Filho/CBFS)

With the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 just around the corner, highlights the rules that distinguish it from the 11-a-side game.

20-minute periods
Futsal matches comprise two periods each lasting 20 minutes of actual playing time. The clock is stopped every time the ball goes out of play and is restarted when play resumes.

Time outs
Teams are entitled to a one-minute time-out in each period. A team that does not request a time-out in the first half of the match is only entitled to one time-out during the second half. There are no time-outs in extra time.

Unlimited substitutions
A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than five players (a goalkeeper and four outfield players) and nine substitutes. There is no restriction on the number of substitutions that may be made during a match. Substitutions may be made at any time, whether the ball is in play or not, but only in the specially demarcated substitution zones.

Replacement of sent-off players
A substitute player may replace a sent-off player and enter the pitch two full minutes after the sending-off. They may, however, enter the pitch before the two minutes have elapsed should their team concede a goal while a player down.

The goalkeepers
Goalkeepers have only four seconds in which to play the ball, with either their hands or feet, and may not touch it again if it has been deliberately played to them by a team-mate without an opponent playing or touching it. Goalkeepers are also now free to play anywhere on the pitch and throw the ball beyond the halfway line, which was not previously permitted.

Accumulated fouls and the second penalty mark
Accumulated fouls are those penalised with a direct free-kick or penalty kick, regardless of whether advantage has been played or not. If a team commits a sixth accumulated foul, the opposing side may take the subsequent free-kick awarded to them without a wall, either from the second penalty mark, which is positioned four metres behind the first, or from a position even closer to the penalty area if the foul was committed between the goal line and the second penalty mark.

Two more things
Unlike 11-a-side football, goals may not be scored directly from the kick-off in futsal and there is no offside.

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