Saturday, January 10, 2009

World Cup Football Comes to Nantes

Foosball: So easy Bush can handle it!*

World Cup football. A quarter-finals match between familiar foes England and Germany. But this is Nantes, France in January 2009, not J-Burg, South Africa in June 2010. The competition at hand is the International Table Soccer Federation's World Cup, and the best players can make up to £50,000 a year.

Make no mistake, this is serious business. In France, which (along with England and Germany) claims to have invented the game, there has been a push to register as an official sport and receive government aid. The argument is that:

“They train for six to eight hours a day, their abdominal muscles are powerful and their busts, arms, wrists and shoulders are in good shape. Everyone knows the game but they don’t know it as a top-level sport.”

Even the more staid Brits are looking to possibly make table soccer an official sport. Boris Atha, the chairman of the British Foosball Association, has noted that

“We are not as far advanced as the French but we are working on it...”
(Ed. note - hey, he said it, not me)

It remains to be seen if the dream of babyfoot (or foosball, or table soccer) will finally receive the recognition it deserves.

*Photo Credit - Doug Mills (AP)

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