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FIFA updated the futsal rules and we have the summary!

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The updated rules of the futsal game made by FIFA have seen the light of the day! Although some have already criticized that these amendments to the game are merely cosmetic in nature, there are few very important points that could heavily impact the future development of futsal and the way the game is played on all levels of competition. We'll break it down for you in this text!

If you’re interested in the full original document, one can be found by clicking this link here!

Obvious things first. One particular change will be very noticeable to the average fan and it’s the increase from 3 to 5 kicks in a penalty shootout. In addition, a goalkeeper has to have one foot above the goal line during penalty kicks. This is in line with FIFA’s statements that they’ll try to keep some futsal rules in line with football and it definitely has the potential to create further suspense.

As clearly stated in the new amendments, women’s futsal has been given the same status as men’s futsal, and it is no longer considered a separate category. This is great news for the acknowledgment of women’s futsal, let’s hope new good things will build on this!

FIFA has paid a lot of attention on youth, veteran, disability and grassroots futsal. Some of the changes incorporated in these amendments affect how the game will be played in these categories, giving national FAs ‘further flexibility to develop their domestic futsal’. These include the size of the pitch, size and weight of the ball, width between goalposts, duration of two halves and one very interesting limitation on throwing of the ball by the goalkeeper. In short, in youth, veteran, disability and grassroots futsal, national FAs may encourage the rule that goalkeeper is not allowed to throw the ball directly over the halfway line. Doing so will induce an indirect free kick at the place where the ball crossed the line. Idea behind this is for players to get more acquainted with the process of playing out of defense, thus further developing player technique, team tactics and creativity.

Interesting rule changes have happened with some scoring situations. It is now possible to score directly from kick-off, so goalkeepers, please be aware. It is not possible, however, to score an own goal from kick-off. A corner-kick to the opposing team will be given if a ball finds its way to back of your own net on kick-off. Also, a timekeeper’s signal will end the match, unless a 6th accumulated foul which results in a free kick, or a penalty, is given. In this situation, the game will end after that free kick/penalty.

There are some new changes regarding our referees as well. It is now possible for a referee to take action against team officials ‘on the bench’ if they’re not conducting themselves in a responsible manner. Meaning, a head coach could get sent off if he gets too rough on the referee. A Reserve assistant referee (RAR) will also be implemented. He or she would replace a referee if any of the referees are unable to continue officiating, but also keeps an eye for any incidents occurring before, during or after the match.

Again, to keep in line with some football rules, FIFA announced new philosophy when player is ‘denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity’ (DOGSO). A red card is to be given for a player DOGSO anywhere on the pitch and making a foul in the process, of course. Idea behind this is to more properly punish the player who denies an obvious-goal scoring opportunity, instead of awarding just another accumulated foul, which is a penalty that ‘doesn’t fit the crime’. It is worth noting, that if a player denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity but attempts to play the ball, a smaller punishment besides red-card may be given to him. However, at the first glance, this seems to be one of those things which will depend on referee’s opinion.

One more good thing is being ‘transferred’ from football to futsal rules. FIFA further clarified situations where players are handling the ball. If things go as planned, less fouls, free-kicks and penalty kicks will be awarded in situations where ball hits the defender’s hand and there is nothing he can do to prevent it. A reverse situation is also stated, in which players who push their luck and “accidently” play the ball with their hand will be punished.

This mostly wraps-up the new amendments to the Futsal Laws of the Game. If you’re interested in the topic and would like to find out more, we advise you to check futsal coach Damon Shaw’s interpretation of the new rules, as well as the list of changes made by Steve Harris, Asia’s number one futsal fanatic! And don’t forget to let us know your opinion on the changes in the comment section of our social media channels!