January 25, 2024
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Fancy a Game of Fiesty Futsal? Check Out Doha's Futsal Courts.

Futsal is one of the fastest-growing indoor sports, with an estimated 30+ million people playing the game worldwide. Played by grassroots and amateur teams to professional national and international clubs, with world-class tournaments, such as the FIFA Futsal World Cup and the World Futsal Association (AMF) Futsal World Championships held every four years, it's a sport that's going places.

Qatar has adopted the sport nationally, but there are also opportunities for amateurs to have a kickaround with several venues across the capital hiring out Futsal courts by the hour. But what, for the uninitiated, is Futsal?

What is Futsal?

Futsal is a football-based game but played on a smaller, hard court, generally indoors, with just five players per side, four outfielders and one goalkeeper. You're not too far off the mark if you compare it to five-a-side and indoor football. However, it's faster, more furious and more skills-based than traditional football. Because the Futsal court is small (you could fit eight Futsal courts onto a football pitch), players have less room to manoeuvre, less scope for crossing and long balls, and less time to ponder their moves. So, there are more touches, more action per player, more shots and more goals - and players rely more on skills and tricks to succeed in this quick-thinking game.

The game originated in South America in the 1930s, designed to provide recreation in poorer communities with limited access to larger outdoor facilities. It quickly became popular throughout the continent as a game to be played anywhere by anyone. Fast forward eighty years, and Futsal is governed at the highest level by the AMF (the world governing body for Futsal) and FIFA (the world governing body for football, beach soccer and Futsal), with internationally recognised rules and a multitude of competitions and tournament cups, including two World Cups and two Euro competitions. 

Futsal is played to similar rules and principles of association football. The ball can be played with any part of the body except the hands, and the team that scores the most goals wins the game. Red and yellow cards are given for misconduct (though when a player is sent off with a red card, a substitute can be sent on after two minutes). Free kicks and penalties are awarded to the opposing team for infringements. And there are corner kicks to restart play as per association football. But there are some significant differences:

  • Compared to an association football match comprising two 45-minute halves, a game of Futsal is played over two 20-minute sessions with a 15-minute break. 
  • A Futsal pitch is smaller than an association pitch, as is the goal (half as wide as a traditional football goal) and the football - the foam-filled, Size 4 Futsal ball weighs approximately 10 grams less than an association football but is much less bouncy. With less bounce, the Futsal ball stays on the ground, making it easier to get under control and play intricate football. 
  • There is no offside rule - the players can position or move around the court freely during play. In addition, with only five players of a football team on the court at any one time – one of whom must be the goalkeeper, the keeper can come off his line and play anywhere on the court like any outfield player (a fly goalkeeper) when he is in the opposition's half. However, the keeper may only handle the ball inside their own penalty area. 
  • Since the goalkeeper is the only player allowed to handle the ball, other team players must kick in, and all restarts (including the keepers) must be within four seconds. 
  • The other main differences include measures to keep the ball in play and the game moving as swiftly as possible. For example, Futsal has two penalty spots; 10 m and 6 m - in the keeper's area. Direct free kicks are counted as accumulated fouls, with teams warned by the referee when they reach five per half. A kick from the 10 m spot is awarded when a team commits six or more accumulated fouls, and a penalty kick from the 6 m spot is taken when a player is fouled in the goalkeeper's area. Furthermore, there can only be one back pass to a goalkeeper in his own half, teams are allowed just one-minute time-out in each period of play, and the clock is stopped whenever the ball is not in play rather than adding on extra time at the end of the session.

In Qatar, a country keen to embrace all sports, traditional and emerging, there is a national Futsal team and a Futsal league, with two domestic Futsal tournaments; the QFA Futsal Cup and the Open Cup. But where do you go to play if you are an amateur?

Where to Hire Futsal Courts in Doha?

So, where can you get a game going if you want or have Futsal skills? Doha has several venues that hire out courts by the hour:

Al Arabi Sports Club

Al Arabi Sports Club, one of Qatar's oldest clubs and home to one of the nation's most popular and successful football teams, also offers facilities for hire, including pitches and courts for badminton, basketball, volleyball, beach soccer, football and, of course, Futsal. The indoor air-conditioned Futsal court is available, with a viewing gallery for your supporters, for almost 24 hours a day, every day.

Facilities must be pre-booked via the PLAYO mobile app or website.

Location: Al Shaab Street, New Salata, Doha

Location Map: Al Arabi Sports Club

Nearest Metro: Al Mansoura Metro Station on the Green Line

Fees: QAR 350 per hour

Hours: Sunday to Saturday, 5 am - 12 am 

Contact: +974 4467 3666

Email: [email protected]

Beats Sports Academy

Beats Sports Academy operates out of Al Rayyan Private Schools and offers facilities for hire for badminton, basketball, cricket and Futsal. An indoor air-conditioned multipurpose hall is adapted for the requirements of the sport upon hiring. 

Facilities must be pre-booked via the PLAYO mobile app or website.

Location: Al Rayyan Private Schools, Ar-Rayyan, Doha

Location Map: Al Rayyan private schools

Nearest Metro: Al Rayyan Al Qadeem on the Green Line

Fees: QAR 200 per hour

Hours: Sunday to Monday, 2 pm - 2 am 

Contact: +974 3111 6600

Email: [email protected]

Pearling Sports

The Pearling Sports Academy offers an indoor air-conditioned synthetic court for rent at the Pearling Season International School Campus at Al Mansoura. The Al Mansoura campus and, more recently, a new school campus at Al Gharafa also offers additional facilities for hire, including badminton and basketball courts and cricket and football pitches. 

Booking courts and pitches can be arranged via the Pearling Sports Academy Whats App or the PLAYO mobile app or website.

Location: Al Khudri Street, Al Mansoura, Doha 

Location Map: Pearling Sport Academy

Nearest Metro: Al Mansoura Metro Station on the Green Line

Fees: QAR 250 per hour 

Hours: Sunday to Monday, 12 am - 12 am

Contact: +974 6676 3763 (What’s App)

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.pearlingsports.com

Facebook: @PSASportsQA

Instagram: @pearling.sports.academy

Accelerate Sports Centre

Accelerate Sports is a sports academy offering lessons, coaching, and facilities hire in numerous sports venues across Doha, including the Pearl Modern School in Al Wukair. The site has a synthetic air-conditioned Futsal court for rent, as well as badminton, table tennis, volleyball and swimming facilities.

A court can be booked via the Accelerate Sports Centre directly or the PLAYO mobile app or website.

Location: Pearl Modern School, Al Meshaf, Al Wukair, Doha 

Location Map: Acceleratesports

Nearest Metro: Al Wakrah Metro Station on the Red Line

Fees: Sunday to Thursday, QAR 100 per hour 

Friday and Saturday, QAR 120 per hour

Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 4 pm - 12 am

Friday and Saturday, 6 am - 12 am

Contact: +974 6661 1851

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: @acceleratesportscenter

You can also try out your Futsal skills on a Five-A-Side football court as an alternative to the above. Al Bidda Park offers an outdoor, hard surface 5-A-Side football court for hire from 4 am - 12 am daily for QAR 225. The court can be booked via the park’s website.

Main image: feelphoto/Shutterstock.com

Published: June 03, 2023
Last updated: January 25, 2024
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