Table Soccer is a table-top game very loosely based on football. The game also goes by the names of Table Football and Foosball (mainly in North America). It often features in many homes as a family game. The object is to move the ball into the opponent’s goal by moving rods that have figures attached. Although the rules may vary from household to household, there is a competitive level of table soccer that is played according to a unified code. The sport also has its own world governing body, the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) established in 2002. There are currently nearly thirty member nations and the role of ITSF is to coordinate the growth, administration and regulation of the sport through each of the national member federations.    

The first patent for foosball was done in 1921 in the United Kingdom. Previously, patents were filed across Europe going back as far as the 1890s. As a result of the popularity of football across Europe, the goal was to invent a game people could play in their homes. These inventions all contributed to the game eventually being brought to the States in the 1950s. Twenty years later it could be played in bars and pool halls across the country.    

A typical table is about 4 ft by 2 ft and normally contains eight rows of ‘foos men’ made from plastic, metal or wood. A game can have two opponents or a team of two. Players manipulate the rods to control the figures. The ball can be held up, passed or kicked. There are five official ITSF table brands that can be used for World Cups or World Championships. The Federation also oversees a World Tour that has recently expanded to Asian nations. The ultimate objective is to establish the sport for inclusion within the Olympic program.

International Table Soccer Federation

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