Subbuteo federation to rebrand over ‘problematic’ link to sexual act name

The world federation for Table Football and Subbuteo is set to rebrand over comparisons between its name and a sexual act and worries the name excludes casual players.

The Federation of International Sports Table Football (FISTF) is planning to rebrand after it said the name was ‘problematic’ in English.

The governing body says: “The fist is a powerful, politically-charged symbol that means many different things to people worldwide. It also refers to a sexual act, most commonly expressed in English.

“It makes sense to try and change our name to something that cannot be mistaken for a negative word or term.”

The federation has also expressed concerns that the Sports in the name is excluding casual players and collectors who want a more laid-back game.

It says: “As well, creating an artificial brand of ‘Sports Table Football’ has not been taken to heart by the community. Placing this strong emphasis on the word ‘sports’ also tends to alienate us from the wider community who also want to just play casually or in clubs and not just in elite competition.”

FISTF has been the governing body for the more ‘professional’ flat based game for decades. The S previously stood for Subbuteo but was changed to Sport in the early 1990s after splitting from brand owner Hasbro.

It has now proposed the name Table Football International as an alternative and has posted a proposed new logo.

It says: “We have sent a proposal to each of the FISTF Member National Associations, proposing that we significantly change the name of the federation as well as our identity to better represent our position as a bold, modern and dynamic international federation.”

“We know that in such a competitive world, we must always evolve and adapt to stay relevant and appeal to a wider audience.
In the digital age, the acronym of our federation has developed negative connotations unrelated to our organisation and it is important that we rebrand to make sure our first impressions are as positive as possible.

“We are proposing a new brand for us: Table Football International.”

The name is likely to go down well with fans of Subbuteo and the modern Table Football game. While some will want the word Subbuteo included it is risky for an organisation to use an existing brand name owned by somebody else. While owner Hasbro has not shown any indication that use of the word Subbuteo would not be allowed, it has previously sent cease and desist letters to sellers using Subbuteo while selling table football themed mugs and art prints.

FISTF has enjoyed a major revival in recent years with several major international tournaments, a thriving amateur scene and the upcoming World Cup in Rome set to be the highlight of the Table Football calendar.

Stephen Hurrell
Stephen Hurrell
Stephen is the founder and editor of The Hobby Online and The Hobby by Subbuteo.Online print magazine. He is a giant nerd and specialises in Subbuteo, retro football kits and consumer stories. A journalist and editor of 15 years, he has written about football for some of the UK's biggest publications.

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