Thursday, 30 June 2011

The news of the week (2)

Hello everybody, just a quick message to keep you updated about the latest WASPA news. We had a great week full of good news and promising developments. Last week we were happy to learn that a tournament would take place in Stockholm, Sweden but more great news came from Scandinavia. It looks indeed that it will be a very international tournament as many foreign players will be there. Marcus Tilgner (Germany) and Robert Green (Australia) had already confirmed they would make the trip but we know that there will be an Italian, a couple of Finns and even David Crémoux, a french player who is living in Sweden for many years who is very excited to start playing again as he was one of the best players in France 20 years ago. This kind of achievements proves WASPA can help the global community of table football/subbuteo fans to grow in numbers. last but not least, Jeremy Bradley from England will more than probably be in Sweden at the time of the tournament so there are great chances he will be able to take part.

Malta is there - I must say that iw as a bit worried about the position of the clubs from Southern Europe when Is tarted the WASPA project. Now that it has been confirmed that there will be a tournament in Malta (and there is interest from Italy and Greece), I feel like we are reaching a growing number of players. The Attard club has already 12 entries for the tournament to be held on July 14, which is a great number.

Singapore, the hot place in Asia - When I was told the club of Leste Aquila would host a tournament in Singapore on August 14, I was very happy. Singapore has been the most active country on the asian scene for the last 10 years and the local organizers are doing a fantastic job. Singapore has now four active clubs and the level of the local players is growing very quickly. Players like Erza Aripin and Christopher Soh have already attended FISTF world cups and players like John Ho and Den Mulia are probably the best players on the continent. As the Singapore association is doing a great job to promote the game, we hope in the near future there will be some clubs in other asian countries, possibly in Malaysia (there is also a club in Hong Kong run by an Italian who lives there for years and there is a very small group of players in Japan, too).

Table hockey - Benoît Racette from Canada is working on a project of "table ice hockey" and he would be happy to hear suggestions from as many subbuteo players as possible. Feel free to contact him at

The future? - Any idea, any tournament request, any question can be sent directly to my e-mail address. It will be a pleasure to answer every message.

Top 10 nations this week on the blog - This week the bigger number of visitors were from Italy, Singapore, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Malta, Portugal and the United States.

Facebook - WASPA has now a page on Facebook and 38 Facebook users have already joined, which helps them to be updated on a daily base.

Keep on flicking,

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

First tournament in Singapore

The Leste' Aquila SC in Singapore will be holding a WASPA tournament on august 14 in the premises of the club. So far Tan Kok Wee, John Ho, Noor Haikal, Jaslin Tan and Rudy Norita have confirmed their attendance. The others are welcome to play :-)

Monday, 27 June 2011

Tournament in Malta

It is now confirmed the club of Attard (Malta) will host a WASPA tournament on July 14 at 6.30 pm. For more information contact Joe Debono by phone 21414712 – 27414712 – 99405867) or e-mail:
There are already 10 registered players for the tournament, which are: Joseph M.Debono, Gordon Caruana, Robert Azzopardi, Marco Mifsud, Maria Coppola, Sharlo Barbara, Etienne Deguara, Lon Joseph Cachia, Daniele Spadaro, Hector Scerri.
Here is a picture of the trophies to be awarded during the tournament.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Welcome Leste Aquila SC

We wish a warm welcome to our Singapore friends of Leste Aquila Subbuteo Club as they have expressed their interest to host WASPA tournaments int he near future. They will more than probably become the first asian club to host a WASPA event. Well done. For more details about this club, check thei website at

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The news of the week (1)

Hello everyone, I decided to use the blog to publish news every thursday. When I was in charge in the FISTF Board, I published a newsletter every week. Right now I will change the way to work. News will be published ont he blog but people who want to receive the newsletter by e-mail can leave their e-mail address in the "Follow us by Email" section (in the right colomn of the blog). Feel free to tell your friends to join!

Tournament in Sweden - The big news this week come from Sweden. Lars Löfgren decided to organize a tournament on August 21 in Stockholm. You can contact Lars at and I'm sure those who travel to Stockholm will enjoy the trip. Marcus Tilgner from Germany will be there to play and there are good chances to see some players from Finland as well. Robert Green, an Australian living in Sweden, is likely to take part with an english friend.

More tournaments? - Right now only 2 tournaments have been held int he WASPA circuit and only 10 players are part of the ranking. Hopefully more events will be held soon as 2 clubs from England are interested to host tournaments and we have also had constructive contacts with Malta, Argentina, Ireland, Germany, Finland and South Africa. So hopefully more events will be added in the calendar in the near future.

News from Japan - Our friend Kenzou Koi from Japan wrote us to say the major newspaper Nikkei Shimbun made an interview of himself last week-end and there was some positive feedback. hopefully more players will join the "Subbuteo Japan" group and feel part of our community.

Top 10 nations this week on the blog - We have had more than 4200 visits ont he blog since it was launched. Over the last 7 days, the visitors came in priority from Italy (108), Greece (62), United Kingdom (52), the US (36), Finland (28), Germany (25), Belgium (23), Portugal (23), Singapore (20) and the Netherlands (14).

Handbook - The first WASPA Handbook was made a few weeks ago and since there, there were no improvements. I'm hoping to get more feedback and ideas to improve the Handbook as soon as possible.

Facebook - WASPA has now a page on Facebook. Feel free to join it to get the latest updates on the WASPA circuit.

Ideas - If you have new ideas for the future of WASPA, feel free to send them. WASPA is an associations of players so all suggestions are welcome.

Keep on flicking,

Friday, 17 June 2011

Some statistics

The top 10 nations (number of visits on this blog since it was launched): Italy 929 ; United States 527 ; Greece 395 ; Belgium 362 ; United Kingdom 271 ; Portugal 250 ; Canada 192 ; Malta 169 ; Germany 111 ; Singapore 85.

More news about international subbuteo

There are many things going on for the moment in the international subbuteo scene. One of the main issues regarding the relations between FISTF and WASPA is that FISTF decided to have a Congress at the next World Cup on July 23 & 24 in Palermon (Italy). One of the points in the agenda is "WASPA and other associations". We hope the FISTF will keep their promises to let players play in both circuits. If it is the case, there might be some positive moves for WASPA as there could be a first WASPA tournament in Italy.

There are also good news from Argentina. The club of Buenos Aires contacted us to give their support. For the moment, there is no tournament yet in the agenda but Argentina and Brazil might become two of the next organizers of subbuteo tournaments under WASPA banner soon.

Who said WASPA sucks? We received a message from a player from Sweden who is thinking about organizing something in his country. In Scandinavia, the game of table hockey is very popular and some table hockey players might organize the first league in Sweden. "If there are players in Norway, Denmark and Finland, there is no reason to have no association in Sweden", reported Lars Löfgren.

We have also received support from clubs in the US and Canada. The small club of Trenton (Ontario) is hoping to host a tournament if they manage to get enough players together.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

News: rankings & updates results file

Considering the recent poll on this blog gave as a result that rankings would be interesting for the WASPA players, the first rankings have been released in the WASPA Golden Book "that you can download from the "download section". Belgium's Renald Deloose is therefore the current world number 1 even if he's aware it doesn't mean much for the moment.

The Golden Book file is also updated with the results of the recent Templeuve tournament.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Poor turnout but great fun in Templeuve

Only six players took part in the tournament held in Templeuve on monday. Despite the low turnout, there were many great games. Dino & Eros Descamps didn't manage to qualify for the final and Dino won the game for the 5th place against his younger brother. Elodie Bertholet & Jean-Luc Platiaux came top of their groups in the first round but both players lost their semi-finals. Vincent Coppenolle beat Elodie Bertholet while Renald Deloose won against Jean-Luc Players. In the final, it was an easy win for Renald Deloose. He was already up (3-0) at half-time and won the game on a clear 7-3. Hopefully there will be more players taking part next time.
The players
The game for the 5th place
Renald Delose's Standard de Liège
The final

Monday, 6 June 2011

Some good news

We finally have some good news as it seems FISTF has finally understood WASPA is an association working for the good of the game, no against what FISTF is doing. Therefore Piero Capponi, president of FISTF, has announced there would be no sanction against players who take part to WASPA tournament. This is a positive and after all the mess of the last few days.

We now hope this decision will motivate more clubs to organize WASPA tournaments.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The reasons why I started the WASPA project

After reading may messages on different forums, I realized it was time to make something public to explain why I started the WASPA project.

For those who don't know me, it's important to know that I'm involved in the game for more than 21 years now and that I have worked a local, regional and national level before being involved in FISTF back in 1998. In 2002, FISTF was not going well at all and I was asked to become president. My goal was to make unity between all players, clubs and associations in the world. With limited resources and with the help of just a few people, I think I managed to make a good job (sorry to be arrogant). FISTF had more players, clubs, associations and tournaments and things kept growing till 2009.

In the general meeting 2009 in the Netherlands, I saw problems started to occur. Italians in particular but also some people from Greece, Malta and Spain started to criticize a lot of decisions. For instance they didn't accept the world cup 2010 should be held in Denmark because "Denmark was not playing the world cup 2009". There were also a lot of requests to change decisions and rules. Most of the rules were not acceptable. As a sign of good faith, under the pressure of Spain and Italy my Board accepted to adopt the rule of the "0-5", which is according to me one of the silliest rules ever.

Because a few Board members had stopped working, I also offered a chance to Piero Capponi, a man with a great business skill but also a very poor knowledge and experience of the game, to become marketing director. Capponi was a man full of enthusiasm. Despite I was thinking (and I still think) he's living in his dreams and is unable to make the difference between dreams and the reality, Piero started a lot of projects. Absolutely nothing happened and after two months, Piero resigned because "the Board was not professional enough".

In January 2010, with the help of Italy and Malta, a new Board was elected during the extraordinary meeting in Frankfurt (Germany). I never accepted the fact that my Board had just a few months to work and instead of being thanked for all the work people like Thossa Büsing, Heinz Eder, Fred Vulpes and myself had done for the sport, we were blamed for our lack of ambition and the lack of professional work (people easily forget that we were only volunteers). It was also because of the same few people that the world cup in Denmark was cancelled and a last minute decision pushed us to award the WC 2010 to Rain (Germany) and the WC 2011 to Rome (Italy). I could also insist on the fact that the results of the elections were manipulated (it was confirmed some nations were pushed under presure to vote for the new team) but once again, Capponi and his friends will answer you that I believe in unbelievable stories of conspiracy.

After having been humiliated by people who, according to me, don't know anything about FISTF and the situation of international table football, it was impossible to offer my services to work for a new Board without having any power of decision. That was a personal choice and I don't have to give any justification for that. I can also say these happenings had also a positive influence in my life as I realized there are more important things in life and 11 months later (on december 18, 2010), I became a father for the first time. ;-)

After a few months, I believe there were many internal problems inside the Board and despite the new president Silvio Catania had promised to organize new elections in september during the world cup week-end, Catania refused to hold the elections in the last minute. Catania had even the support of the italian and spanish associations and Stefano De Francesco even said during the meeting that "Italy would quit FISTF if elections were held". Nobody had the balls to tell it was a very unfair situation and things continued to go down till the next extraordinary meeting in Madrid (Spain).

This meeting was something unbelievable for many reasons. Not only because on the italian forum it was clearly written that Italy and some other associations from Southern Europe were going to start their own international association if they were losing the elections (the "Mediterranean association") but also because in the last minute, despite some nations had send votes by post, by fax and even via lawyers (!), the elections were biaized by the last minute candidature of Piero Capponi for the job of president. Capponi candidature was justified by the fact that Belgium had announced "they would not vote for Stefano De Francesco as sports director". It was simply unacceptable to change the rules in the last minute so that only nations who could afford to travel to Madrid could vote.

At personal level, I had indeed promised I would give my support to the three candidates for the job of president (Alan Collins, Markus Jurik and Vesa Kouvonkorpi) and that I would be ready to offer my experience and my energy to be communication director again. Due to the way elections were held, I decided after Capponi was elected to remove my candidature as communication director. It was clearly said by phone to the belgian representative in Madrid. Capponi refused my decision because he didn't have a "written document" from me...

The rest is history. I have now realized that FISTF is just an italian association run by Italians with all types of decisions taken only if they fit the Italians. It wasn't surprising to me to hear that Antonello Rodriquez had been offered the job of communication director (despite Capponi, who is italian but living in Spain), and De Francesco are alreay Italians. By the way, when I was thinking to be back in the Board, I had asked Antonello to be the new FISTF secretary. This offer was refused by the italian Board (!!!)

I believe there is no future for FISTF because people like Capponi don't understand the needs of the players. Capponi and De Francesco speak all the time about the ways to recruit new players but they don't care how to make the current base of players happy.

There is also a problem of communication because players from smaller associations have no contact anymore with FISTF. So many times I have received messages from South Africa, Brazil, the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia,... asking me is FISTF is still existing. I felt like I was still needed to do something for the game.

Another reason is that it will be impossible to work for FISTF as long as people like Capponi and De Francesco will be in charge. I have no problem with them as people but they are just the wrong people to work in a Board. Stefano De Francesco has never done anything for the sport... outside Italy. I believe he's a great person who loves the game but he has too many personal interests and will always work in favor of his friends. The way the world cup 2011 was moved from Rome in september to Sicily in july (which makes the travel costs extremely expensive for many players) is a very sad example proving that.

About Capponi, I don't know what to say apart from the fact it is an insane situation where a person who works for a company distributing table football material (Total Soccer) is also president of FISTF. People seem to forget that FISTF was created to have a subbuteo association totally independant of the producers of the game. There are now more than rumors that Capponi's company has reached a deal to use the brand name "Subbuteo" in the future and therefore I believe it's absolutely impossible that someone like that remains in charge at FISTF. I also believe Capponi doesn't care of the game itself. If he was really crazy about the game, Total Soccer would be a better brand with material that can be used in tournaments, now just figures that don't glide, bad pitches and goals that you can't even fix on a table...

I'm also against the idea that "table football has to become professional". I believe it's just a game. A great game, maybe a small sport but it's impossible to have the ambition for instance to become an olympic sport. Our priority should be to take care of our players, to offer them something they like: great tournaments, a well-organized circuit, a newsletter, rankings, international meetings, making new friends who share the same hobby,...

Of course, Capponi has based his politics on promises he will probably not be able to keep. He promised to bring huge sponsors and to get tournaments on Eurosport. I believe Eurosport will not take much time to realize that subbuteo can be a great game to play but very boring to watch. I have been involved for many years and every time I see the game on TV, the reporters spend more time to explain the basic rules and the way the circuit is organized instead of explaining why Carlos Flores is a great player or why the team of Mattersburg is so strong.

And last but not least, I believe FISTF Board members should be able to speak the official languages of FISTF (english and french) or at least one of them. And right now there is a huge problem of communication at this level.

So what about WASPA? Basically, WASPA was just an idea. I realized that if Italians were ready to create their "mediterranean association", there was no reason to offer something to all players in the world who play at regional level and don't have the opportunity to travel every week-end to the other corner of Europe to play a tournament. FISTF has become a federation of rich players who believe they are professional sportsmen. When you have a job and a family, there are more important things to do in life than taking three days to play sometimes 2 games. WASPA will have different goals such as developping friendly relations between players, playing games in a friendly and fair spirit, enjoying the game without taking things too seriously.

I believe WASPA will succedd if people understand the philosophy of the association. I have had positive feedback from the US, Canada, Denmark, Malta, Australia, ... and even from Italy (!) but the Italians are scared to be suspended by the italian association if they play in WASPA events (!)

The decision of the FISTF Board to suspend for 3 years players who have played in WASPA events is a total disgrace. I'm sure that, even if Capponi and De Francesco (the 2 persons who take all decisions in the FISTF Board) have their personal interests (and attacking players is just a way to attack me personnally), good faith will win and the "decision" will be changed soon. After all, Stefano De francesco has always been a by fan of the "Old Subbuteo" movement and I don't see how he could be suspended by FISTF for 3 years for having showed support to another association :-)

Well, that's all for now. I think it was just good to give some personal feelings and I hope good news will be coming up soon!

Vincent Coppenolle -

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Another sad day for international table football

On May 31st, 2011 FISTF published a statement with several decisions about the situation of the game in Greece. The statement was surprinsingly adding the following announcement:
"The BoD decided to expressly declare that the players that will participate to the activities (i.e. tournaments, active membership, etc.) of other Federations that:
- have the same goals of FISTF, are in conflict with FISTF or try to divide the Table Soccer movement.
will be disqualified for three years to all FISTF international competitions."

Of course, a lot of reactions came up on different forums, in particular the Subbuteo New Forum. "I am speechless", commented Rasmus Lund (Denmark). "Shame! It is what I feel reading the decision text. It is the FISTF's darkest day", added Luis Filipe Horta (Portugal).

Fortunately, some people didn't lose their sense of humor. Janus Gersie, the chairman of the german association, commented "Dear all, don't worry. Regarding WASPA there is no need to worry: WASPA doesn't have the same goals ; WASPA is not in conflict with FISTF ; WASPA is not trying to divide the tablesoccer movement. So I really don't know to which federation Piero is refering to."

Diederik Boyen, a belgian player living in Portugal, seemed to be very angry with the statement: "If I'm able to take part on a WASPA tournement I will! And if FISTF feels the need to ban for that? Go ahead!"

Vesa Kouvonkorpi (Finland) seemed to be surprised: "Apart from being clearly against the statutes, I think, it is another sign of people gone mad with power, and who are afraid of losing it. I will suggest to my association that we will ask others about the interest of asking (yet another) EGM. Another possibility is to just start working for another federation. Sad and unbelievable."

Simon Hutchinson, the organizer of the very first WASPA tournament held last month in California, made a clear comment about the FISTF statement: "Who cares about how many matches anyone has played in a FISTF tournament? I don't think anyone does outside of the FISTF BoD. A world wide body should be trying to get as many people as possible playing the game of Subbuteo. Not saying that Subbuteo outside of their tournaments does not exist. I have only played 4 games in FISTF tournaments, & 756 games in competitions with my club. Which of those numbers show that I am a committed Subbuteo player? All of this makes me happy that I am now a FISTF outlaw."

Hutschinson later added: "I think this thread shows that FISTF does not care for Subbuteo at the "grassroots" level. Looking from afar it appears to many of us outside of Europe that FISTF is only interested in organizing big tournaments in a few countries in Europe with hundreds of players. What about the isolated players playing the game in other countries and continents? Should they not be encouraged to join the world wide Subbuteo family. FISTF does not seem interested in doing that, & appears to be hostile to that. This is why WASPA will succeed."

Even Mike Parnaby, the chairman of the english association, wanted to make clear the statement is silly: "I cannot believe that I may be banned from the game I have played for over 35 years, because I do not toe the line and play the type of tournament that FISTF wants me to. In England, we have tournaments that are FISTF, retro, TSPA (Big Ball) and it is possible that a WASPA event will take place too. On top of that clubs play their own rules. I am sure this happens in every country. The current BOD needs to understand that players want to play whatever code they want without the threat of being banned. What happens if I play Table Football (the game in pubs with the players on rotating rods). They have a similar structure to FISTF so would this code of table football be in conflict with FISTF's ideals? Like Simon says, FISTF should be trying to get more players into the game, not alienating those it does have. Those players who play other codes, should not be banned, they should be encouraged to play FISTF events and made welcome. I hate being negative of the forums, but this decision is one more nail in the FISTF coffin."

Parnaby alsso added that "Many smaller countries are feeling alienated now. Subbuteo (Table Football) is played all over the world, not just in Italy, Spain, Malta, Greece etc. All countries should be encouraged. As for WASPA, I am not sure if it will succeed or not. All I can say, from my own point of view, is that as politics have become more and more 'important' within FISTF, the whole organisation seems to have lost its way. If WASPA can be a less political animal where players play for the love of the game, and not because of some sort of power trip, then maybe it will become a force. I do not think anyone wants the game to disintegrate into factions. I hope it doesn't and I hope that FISTF can find a way forward based on getting the basics right so that all players, where ever they are, are proud to be a part of a thriving and respected world governing body. Maybe I am dreaming, yes, it appears I am."

At the same time, Adrian Ritoridis contacted WASPA to enroll his school Subbuteo Club. The club is called Nottingham Academicals SC and has a membership of 33 players, all under the ages of 18. Adrian wishes to organise his school's league and all other school competitions under the auspices of WASPA.

This long thread confirms a huge majority of players disagree with the FISTF decision. Despite the fact it's understandable to say the table football community should not be divided, a lot of people seem to have forgotten that some Italians said a few months ago they were going to start a "Mediterranean association" if they lost the FISTF elections. Rules seem to be different fo some people...

Fortunately and hopefully, this decision will only help to create a stronger future for WASPA.