Futsal originated in Uruguay in 1930, the brainchild of a teacher by the name of Juan Carlos Ceriani. The word itself is a contraction of the Spanish term Fútbol de Salón, which means ‘indoor football’. The sport emerged from Ceriani’s desire to give children who had no access to outdoor pitches the opportunity to play football on basketball courts. He found a solution to the problem he had identified by utilising smaller playing areas. Borrowing and adapting rules from other indoor sports such as basketball, water polo and handball, Ceriani established the format and dimensions of the playing area, the number of players, game duration, and the rules pertaining to goalkeepers, among other regulations. The new sport caused a sensation in Uruguay, whose football fans were still on a high after their country’s triumphs at the 1928 Olympics and 1930 FIFA World Cup. It was not long before futsal spread quickly across the rest of South America.
Over the subsequent decades, futsal has gradually developed into a global sport. While similar to football, it also shares certain characteristics with other team sports, and the result is a game that is unique. Futsal requires a high rate of active participation and motor engagement on the part of the players, which makes it an excellent means of developing skills among children. It enables them to stay constantly involved in the game – directly or indirectly – and build up the amount of time they spend engaged in useful practice (or intense practice), which is why the sport is also regarded as an excellent training tool for football.
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