Futebol De Salao

Whilst in Brazil, sensing the demise of Futebol de Salão, Simon Clifford was determined to maintain the true nature of the game and set about developing a coaching structure to run alongside the game from his base in the UK. Simon founded the International Confederation of Futebol de Salão to keep the game alive and to introduce the game and training programme to children throughout the world as he convinced that this will have great benefits for all who love the game of football.

Originally setting up Brazilian Football Academies and Soccer Schools in the UK, the International Confederation of Futebol de Salão now oversees the game throughout the world and has centres up and running in numerous countries.

Futebol de Salão is a 5-a-side version of football of South American origin that is played with a smaller (size 2), heavier (465g) ball that has virtually no bounce (10%). The game became very popular in Brazil where players such as Pele, Rivelino, Zico right through to Juninho, Ronaldo and Rivaldo were brought up first playing Futebol de Salão before moving on to conventional football.



In 1895 Charles Miller, a railway worker, travelled from Southampton in England to São Paulo in Brazil. Miller carried two footballs and an FA rule book. Soon it caught on and Miller was behind the beginnings of structured football in Brazil. He is now revered as the Father of Brazilian football.

By the 1920's the game had become very popular, but the big cities lacked space for football pitches. Thus the 5-a-side Futebol de Salão was born using handballs on a handball court.


Futebol de Salão vs... Futsal

The names are sometimes interchanged depending on which country you are in or from, but the games are quite separate. Futebol de Salão is played with a size 2 ball with virtually no bounce. Aside from the ball, the rules are not greatly different and it is true that Futsal has evolved from Futebol de Salão into FIFA's chosen version of a 5-a-side for the world.

FIFA attempted to take over control of Futebol de Salão in 1989. Plans to televise the sport were doomed to failure, caused by the ball being to small to be seen clearly on TV. However, FIFA still seized the chance to make money by selling a new version the game around the world.

They introduced new rules and renamed the game 'Futsal'. One of the most controversial changes was the reduction of the balls weight and increase in ball size (from a size 2 to 4), which made the ball visible on TV screens for the first time.

It is clear to many South American Players that Futsal is more of an adult game and lacks the characteristics of traditional Futebol de Salão that have proved so beneficial to generations young Brazilian children.

Futebol de Salão remained widely played in Brazil right through to the early 1990's before FIFA's insistence on Futsal as the global game took hold. Whether Futsal has the same benefits to young players as Futebol de Salão is doubtful and there is a growing body of academic research which suggests that it would be best for children to play Futebol de Salão and adults to play Futsal.

Birmingham Brazilian Soccer Schools Coach Rob Williams has experience of coaching both games to young players. Rob says; "I spent years in the US teaching and Playing Futsal. It is a great game for grown men and women to play, but when coaching children there is nothing that compares to Futebol de Salão. Futsal shares to many of the characteristics of conventional Soccer, there is very little there that encourages the dribbling and fast passing game that we see through FDS."

In Chile, Futebol de Salão remains unaffected as the most participated sport in the country.


Academic Research

The ICFDS is regularly contacted by Universities and researchers who are interested in studying the unique game of Futebol de Salão and to compare it to other versions of football. All studies that we receive are kept on file and available on request and we are always happy to help with research projects. The following is a selection of recent research.

DR. Charles Buckley, Manchester Metropolitan University: Dr. Buckley compared the benefits of children training with Futebol de Salão to show a far greater improvement, particularly with the juggling and dribbling tests that were carried out. Dr. Buckley concluded that "Futebol de Salão, when compared to conventional approaches to soccer skill development appears to offer exciting potential for improving performance."

The FA (Research commissioned by the FA for their "Insight" Magazine, carried out by IAIN MILLIGAN of Liverpool John Moore's University): This research compared the games of Futebol de Salão and Mini-Soccer for their relative merits in the development process of young footballers. The study found that in Futebol de Salão players get more chance to perform individual techniques, the games feature more successful passes, controls, fakes and feints, dribbles and runs with the ball and produces more attempts at goal and consequently more goals. The results from the study indicate that the whole concept of Futebol de Salão provides players with greater opportunities to perform basic football techniques more frequently and successfully compared with mini-soccer.

University of Northumbria: Carried out a study comparing training sessions at Brazilian Soccer Schools and those at a professional Football Club's Academy. Whilst at training sessions, the percentage of time that the players were engaged "on task" was:

Pro Club - 16%*

Brazilian Soccer Schools - 53%*

* The average for elite sports coaching world-wide is around 20-30%).

Of this "on-task" time, the following statistics were derived from the time spent undertaking "motor appropriate activities" - namely activities which will improve the players football at their appropriate level:

Pro Club - 33%

Brazilian Soccer School - 92%

The ICFDS is always happy to help with research projects, please feel free to contact us for further information and details of current studies.