For many years the company who made the game controlled the ‘sport’ of Subbuteo Table Football in England. This control was eventually passed over to the players in 1992-3 when the Subbuteo company helped the players to form their own world organisation. This fledgling association was called the Federation International Sports Table Football (FISTF), and it was tasked with running the world game, including the World Cup.
Each nation was then to form its own association and so the English Sports Table Football Association (ESTFA) was born. In 2010 we dropped the ‘Sports’ in our title and replaced it with ‘Subbuteo’ to better reflect the nature of our game. For 2012-13 we have removed the Table Football part to become just the
English Subbuteo Association.
What We Do
Our basic function is administration of the association and its players. To compete in the big FISTF events like the World Cup and the Europa Cup for Clubs, each nation must be affiliated to FISTF, and must also pay its FISTF fees. We also need to be a member of the FISTF family in order to host International Grand Prix and Satellite tournaments. All these events allow our players to ‘mix it’ with top European players and earn World Ranking points.
So through our official link to FISTF we can provide a series of events for all players to attend. On that framework of FISTF events we also hang the rest of the events that make up the English Circuit, so that even more players can participate. We also host the English National Championships for both individual players and for club team, and send our England Team to the World Cup.
Going back to the history section right at the start. When Subbuteo Sports Games ran the game in this country, they focussed their efforts on the younger generation. After all they were trying to sell a toy to children! When the players took the reins and began promoting the ‘game’ as a ‘sport’, the one area that was neglected was the younger end of the playing ladder. As a result, very little new blood enters the sport and that which does is often older players coming back to the sport.
The ESA is well aware that this trend cannot continue for much longer. So alongside providing the administrative functions as detailed above, we are planning a campaign to try and take Table Football back into the public eye. Once the game itself left the toyshop shelves, the decline started. We need to make today’s 8-12 year olds aware of the game, and try and encourage them to start playing. We need to develop a new grassroots because the old grassroots has been neglected and they are almost dead! This is going to take time, effort, cash and commitment. Not just from the ESA board but by all of us. Every penny we receive will be used to cover our costs first and then any extra will be ploughed into trying to grow and develop the game.
By joining the ESA, you are not only helping to fund the current set-up, (which is important in itself) but also you are investing in the future of Table Football in England.