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Developed in 1930 as a form of indoor recreation, the game is similar to modern soccer but with just five players per side playing on a smaller, indoor field. Futsal comes from fútbol sala or fútbol de salon, which means “room football” in Spanish. Fútbol sala was used during the sport’s second world championships in 1985 but has been officially known as futsal since then.
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Futsal is played on a hard, indoor court delineated with lines instead of boards or walls. A smaller ball with less bounce is used and the rules of the game distinguish it from regular football/soccer. Games consist of two 20-minute periods. The rules include time-outs, unlimited substitutions, no offside and no scoring directly from the kick-off. Goalkeepers have four seconds to play the ball and cannot touch the ball again until it is played or touched by an opponent. Futsal requires improvisation, creativity and technique and the ability to control the ball and pass in small spaces.
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The Asociación Mundial de Fútbol de Salón (AMF) and FIFA are responsible for maintaining and regulating the official rules of their respective versions of the sport.
Two referees are used in international matches. A third referee is placed at the timekeeper table to control the teams’ benches. The first referee controls the match by enforcing the Laws of the Game and the second referee typically watches the goal lines or assists the primary referee with calls on fouls or plays. The third referee replaces an injured referee if needed.
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