The Subbuteo World Cup is set to return for the first time in 26 years

The table football World Cup will include a ‘traditional Subbuteo’ category for the first time since 1994.

The table football World Cup, which will take place in Rome in 2021, could include a category using traditional Subbuteo players and accessories.

The news was announced by table football governing body FISTF yesterday (5 December). However, the move to add Subbuteo to the table football World Cup is still in its early stage and may only be introduced in future tournaments.

When it does happen it will be the first time since 1994 that a true Subbuteo World Cup will take place, with modern table football versions of the game running tournaments since then with unofficial products.

It will mark a major milestone for fans of the traditional Subbuteo figures with curved bases and is a major step to extending the scope of the tournaments in future.

FISTF, whose biennial tournament uses modern flat bases instead of traditional Subbuteo, says it will help to encourage more players to take part in events.

After voting a new board in, it says: “A significant decision was the vote to include a ”traditional Subbuteo’ category at the FISTF World Cup, A working group will be put together to decide on which rules to be used. This is a major development to encourage more players to participate at FISTF events. This will be a new “code”  for world sports table football. Many other codes exist too, such as Sector ball, 12 Touch, chapas and other codes.”

The FISTF World Cup includes categories for young players, the main single player tournament, the team World Cup and veteran tournaments. The event is the biggest table football tournament in the calendar and most recently took place in a well-attended event in Gibraltar.

Teams and players from across the world gather for the tournament every two years and the new category could reignite interest in the tournament with more casual players.

Previous tournaments using Subbuteo accessories ended in 1994 and the USA World Cup. The Italia 90 tournament, taking place four years earlier, was broadcast live on Channel 4.

The first ever Subbuteo World Cup took place in the Savoy Hotel in London in 1970. It was followed by a larger tournament in Munich in 1974.

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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