The most popular sport in the world is also played outside the big stadiums. What are the rules of beach soccer?
The origins of beach soccer can be found in Brazil. It was in this region of the world that a friendly game of beach soccer was started, which led to the official founding of the sport and the establishment of the rules of the game in 1992.
The first Beach Soccer World Cup was played on Copacabana Beach in Rio De Janeiro in 1995. Since then, the championship title has been held by Brazil, whose streak was only broken in 2001 by Portugal, who is also the current winner of the event.
The tournament has been held every two years since 2009, with this year’s event scheduled to start on 19 August in Moscow. After a thrilling elimination round, the Polish men’s national team failed to advance to the tournament. Beach soccer is not an Olympic discipline, although efforts to include beach soccer in the pantheon of the world’s best competitions have been ongoing for several years.
The rules of beach soccer are relatively similar to the traditional version of soccer. The match is played on a sand-covered pitch with a maximum depth of 50 centimeters and dimensions of 35-37 meters wide by 35-37 meters long.
The goals placed on the end lines are 2.2 meters high and 5.5 meters wide. Each game lasts 36 minutes divided into 3 12-minute periods. There are 5 players from each team playing on the field. Each team also has 7 substitute players who can come in for substitution at any time during the game.
The goal of the game is to score as many goals as possible. Interestingly, there cannot be a tie in beach soccer. If there is no winner in the basic time, the referee calls for overtime, which lasts an additional 3 minutes. If no winner is determined during this time, a series of penalty kicks begins, conducted on the basis of the golden goal rule (i.e. a one-goal lead after any turn).
The game begins with field players who must break through the opponents’ defensive line. During the match, the referee can penalize a player with a yellow or red card for playing against fair play. Unlike the traditional version of soccer, a player who receives two yellow cards or one red card and is ruled out of the match can be replaced by another player from the substitutes’ bench.
Due to the dynamics of the whole game, the players do not have a limit of fouls, however, just like in handball, anyone can be punished with a 2-minute exclusion from the game – then the opposing team starts the game with a free kick.
An interesting element of beach soccer are the regular parts. A free kick can be awarded after a foul, a handball, a turnover or after the goalkeeper has held the ball. This rule refers to the rule that a goalkeeper restarting the game from his goal has only 5 seconds to kick or kick the ball.
Penalty kicks are dictated after a foul or a handball in the own penalty area, and its enforcer should be the fouled player, unless his health does not allow it. Unlike soccer, the line for taking a penalty kick is at 9 meters.
Featured photo: Umberto Rotundo / Flickr