History of Futsal

‘Futsal’ is an abbreviation of the Portuguese ‘futebol de salao’ or the Spanish ‘futbol sala’ meaning ,literally, football in a room or indoor football. The sport’s origins are vague but it is generally accepted that the first organised game dates back to 1930 in Montevideo in Uruguay, the year that Uruguay hosted the first FIFA World Cup. An Argentine coach, Juan Carlos Ceriani, tired of rain soaked pitches and cancelled training sessions, bought the game inside for the first time. Juan Carlos put together a set of rules which became a book in 1933. The game took off in YMCAs and parks across Montevideo. All that was needed was small basketball-sized court. Meanwhile, a similar game was being played in the streets of Sao Paolo in Brasil, It spread fast and the first local leagues developed in Brasil with a Rules book produced in 1936. Originally, there were 7 players (now 5), the goal was 4m x 2m (now 3m x 1m) and the ball which was either thrown or kicked in, weighed almost a kilo (now 390 – 430 grams). The ball is low-bounce with the bladder being filled with foam or latex., The Offside rule was abolished in 1990. There are slight variations in rules between the three Futsal associations in Australia (see below) including FAF dispensing with the kick-in and re-introducing the throw-in.The game spread throughout Latin America and the first international futsal competition kicked off in 1965 with Paraguay taking home the silverware. Brasil won the next six Championships between 1966 and 1979 and were the Pan American games Champions in 1980 and 1984. Futsal; demanded new skills; quick feet, a quick mind and the use of the toes and the bottom of the foot.

The International Federation for Futebol de Sala (FIFUSA) was founded in Brasil in 1971. The first World Championship was held in Sao Paolo in 1982. Brasil, with a team studded with stars from the outdoor game, won and again in Spain three years later but then lost their crown to Paraguay in 1988 at the Melbourne Entertainment Centre.. The first FIFA World Cup was in the Netherlands in 1989. Only two teams have held the Cup aloft, Brasil five times and Spain twice. Brasil is the current World Cup Champion having beat Spain 3-2 in 2012 (see link to the game on the home-page). This years 8th FIFA Futsal World Cup is in Columbia in September with the Futsalroos in Group D up against Brasil, Ukraine, and Mozambique.

Indoor soccer was introduced to Australia by Mrs Dawn Gilligan in 1972 during a particularly wet winter and was played in the Revesby YMCA (Canterbury-Bankstown area SW of Sydney) before slowly spreading to other YMCAs throughout Austarlia. In 1977 the Australian Indoor Soccer Association  (AISA) was formed and in 1979 began to play by the rules of futbol sala. In 1989 FIFA took over the sport and named it Futsal and the AISA changed its name to Australian Futsal Association (AFA).

Futsal began in Queensland at Murgon in the South Burnett in 1981 and in Brisbane at McGregor in 1984. There are now over 80 clubs and 10,000 players across the state.

The three futsal organisations in Australia are Football Federation of Australia (FFA) with whom TFC is affiliated via Football Queensland (FQ),  AFA, also known as Vikings, with whom we were affiliated until 2012, and the newly formed (in December 2015) Federation of Australian Futsal (FAF) which is affiliated with the Spanish based Asociasion Mundial de Futsal (AMF), i.e., the World Futsal Association.

Pele, Diego Maradonna, Lionel Messi, Xavi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo are just some of the outdoor stars who played Futsal as youngsters, claiming the sport developed their outdoor skills.

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"When I was a young boy in Argentina, I played futsal in the street and in a club. It was great fun and helped me to become the player I am today”– Lionel Messi
“During my childhood in Portugal, we only played futsal. The small pitch helped me to improve my footwork and whenever I played futsal I felt free. If it weren’t for futsal I wouldn’t be the player I am today.” – Cristiano Ronaldo
“In Futsal you see whether a player is really talented. You notice the small details in quality, class and tactical understanding.”- Xavi