Subbuteo launches VAR set for 2021

Subbuteo has launched an official VAR set for 2021.

The table football game has launched the first ever VAR set after teasing the launch earlier last year.

The new set contains a referee, referee assistants, a fourth official holding a board and a VAR monitor to place at the side of the pitch. It is the first time the technology has ever been part of an official Subbuteo product.

However, the ‘launch’ asks more questions than it answers. New owners of the license, Longshore from Hong Kong, says the new VAR sets are available now but has not revealed where they will actually be on sale.

The cryptic social media updates show screen shots of a new VAR box set but it is not yet available in all Subbuteo retailers here in the UK, including importer University Games, the brand behind the 2020 relaunch of Subbuteo in the country.

There is an additional VAR monitor included in the box, which is completely new. We will update with a price and where to buy as soon as possible.

Subbuteo also announced a new fence set box but it looks like old stock repackaged for 2020 once again.

It’s a disappointing launch for a brand that promised a revamp in 2020 and several new Subbuteo sets.

When Longshore took over Subbuteo in early 2020 it promised the biggest marketing campaign in the brand’s history. It launched a new England box set last summer and advertised pitchside at England internationals.

A TV advert with John Motson doing the voiceover also launched to UK TV, but brand new Subbuteo box sets and accessories were also promised.

Fans were eagerly awaiting news of new accessories and new teams to match the new box sets. The VAR set was teased at the end of last year, with a launch date of early 2021 confirmed by Longshore.

The Subbuteo VAR accessory is not completely new, but is the first new product launch for a year and should prove popular with collectors. However, Subbuteo will need to be slicker with their sales and marketing strategy to win some disappointed fans of the brand around in the coming months.

Subbuteo has had several stop-start years. A relaunch by owner Hasbro in the early 2000s was not successful and the brand had disappeared from many high street shelves over the past decade. A relaunch in 2020 was seen as the brand’s last chance to re-establish itself as a toy and collector’s brand. There are plans in place for new teams, box sets and potentially events too.

You can read our Subbuteo VAR set review here.

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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