Working with all the best licences in world at Paladone has it perks, like getting invited to all sorts of fantastic events. In this case, as a Subbuteo gift supplier, I had the pleasure of attending the Subbuteo World Cup 2016, near Mons in Belgium. I know what you’re thinking and yes it does exist and it is spectacular. Entering the hall, I was confronted by an amazing spectacle of about 50 tables with players of all nationalities and ages huddled around playing Subbuteo. Flags of each country were hung from the ceiling in true world championship fashion.
For those who aren’t aware, Subbuteo, (literally meaning ‘hobby’ in Latin) is the quintessential table football game, played by millions of football obsessives around the world. First created by Peter Adolph in the 1940s, the game took the world by storm as countless players recreated their favourite footballing moments and became their icons through the tiny plastic figures. Initially a children’s favourite, the game soon grew in popularity and became beloved by football fans of all ages, making it a classic cultural icon and the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful game. Subbuteo in the UK relaunched with England Football legend John Barnes as it’s face in 2012.
If you are a novice of the sport like I am you can check out the rules here: http://www.subbuteorules.co.uk/basic-rules-en.
For the tournament; players were grouped into 6 categories, from u12 to veteran, with 18 competing countries. The first thing you notice is the passion is present just as in any more commonly competed sports, check out this goal scored by a player from Gibraltar. The cheer at the end of this is just a whimper to some of the yells and cheers that echoed around the hall all day long.
Surrounding the table is the two players and a ref. The referees are essential to control the game and make quick decisions as tempers can flair. Due to the pace and intricacy of the game decisiveness when officiating is needed to keep the game flowing. The sport is crying out for technology in the game to help out the officials, and unlike Football over the years it is welcomed with open arms as in one game we were lucky enough have someone filming the game on their iPad, when a contentious scenario occurred. The ref reviewed the playback on the video and allowed the goals. Watch it happen here!
Another surprise was that the game is played at a fast pace and, just as in most table top games, it is very tactical, almost chess like. Check out the video below of the Men’s Final where you can see how quickly they are thinking and strategically moving their pieces around the table, culminating in a shooting opportunity.
Unfortunately, whilst I thought it was awesome to watch, the major TV channels haven’t got behind the sport yet, so the World Cup was not televised. Come on BT Sport I’m talking to you! Though if you were looking in the right places, i.e. the Facebook page of your favourite wholesale gift company, you would have seen our live streams throughout the day! If you did find yourself away from our news feed for some strange reason.. Then don’t worry you can view all the replays here (there’s even a penalty shootout!) – ……………….
I wasn’t just there to watch; I was also there to share our Subbuteo wholesale gift offering with its biggest fans in the world! As if they needed any more incentive to win, we gave all the winners and runners up in the children’s categories a prize from Paladone’s Subbuteo range. Check out our range here, including a Subbuteo Light and a Subbuteo Mug.
Looking at the programme we can see that the sport is dominated by Italy and Belgium in times gone by, but is that the case this year.
Yes, yes it was. I can confirm that Italy were the big winners of the event, winning 4 out of 6 of the individual awards. And yes, that meant we heard the Italy national anthem 4 times in a row! Still thoroughly stuck in my head to this day! However, they didn’t take all the spoils – Portugal won the women’s’ and Austria won the Men’s.
See the photos below as I gift the winners and runners up a Paladone prize to go with their medals and trophies!