New futsal league in Ipswich looking to produce the next Lionel Messi

A bird's-eye view of a futsal pitch

A bird's-eye view of a futsal pitch - Credit: Contributed

Want to become the next Lionel Messi? Well, here’s your chance as a new futsal league is starting this week in Ipswich.

Along with other footballing greats such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho to name a few, the trio all grew up in their streets of their own nations playing the highly regarded sport.

One not to be confused with traditional 5-aside, futsal bases its main principles on touch, skill, passing and movement.

It is widely regarded as the future of developing technically gifted players after its success has spread from fantastic footballing nations such as Spain and Brazil.

And with the sport becoming increasingly popular in the UK, Footstars co-owner and league chairman Guy Hayes has acted and managed to bring the fast-paced sport to Ipswich.

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“Futsal is one of the best things to do to develop your game,” said Hayes.

“It helps your technical game no end and it’s no wonder that it has helped produce the likes of the Messi’s and Ronaldo’s.”

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Held in the sports dome at Inspire Suffolk, formerly Holywells High School, the league is set to be ran every Thursday from 7-9pm, starting this week (January 23).

“We are looking for this week to be a sort of introduction to futsal before we start properly in a round-robin weekly system the following Thursday,” said Hayes, who is also in charge of high-flying Touchline SIL Division 6 side, Chantry Grasshoppers.

“We have a few players and teams signed up at the minute but are always looking for more - whatever their level of experience.

“Even if players are coming on their own, we want them to turn up and play, it’s very much a case of the more, the merrier.”

With a set price of £25 per team each week and up to 12 players permitted to sign on for a team, this really is a fantastic opportunity to get to play a sport that is only growing in stature.

“I hope the league can take off because it’s a great opportunity. We already have big plans to take the league even further afield so I hope everything can run smoothly,” added Hayes.

Anyone interested in playing in the league should contact Guy Hayes on 07963560439 or or turn up early at Inspire Suffolk on Thursday!

You can also read more about the league and indeed futsal on


Some basic futsal rules

Five players on court (including gk) - rolling substiutions.

Standard games are 40 minutes long with two 20 minute halves separated by a short half-time interval.

Played on a hard indoor court with a set marked out pitch. Ball is returned into play with a ‘kick-in’. Corners are permitted.

Goalkeepers must bowl the ball out with their hands and are allowed anywhere on the pitch.

There are two referees and a timekeeper - each referee is responsible for the separate halves of the court. They stand behind the marked out pitch so they don’t get in the way of the action.

Time is stopped stop when the ball is out of play.

All players are permitted to enter both penalty areas.

No height restriction on ball.

Use of square goals (hockey type).

Use of a futsal ball (smaller and much heavier than a normal size 5 football).

Both teams are permitted one ‘time-out’ per match whereby both teams are allowed to have a short break and team-talk.

Five foul limit - If a team concedes five fouls (anywhere on the pitch) in a single half, they concede a penalty for every foul after.

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