With the UK Championships (UKC) coming up, this is a good time for me to reach out to you all.
So let’s start with the basics, all the info for the UKC can be found on the Britfoos forum here ( viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10635 ) and via Facebook here ( https://www.facebook.com/events/1656372607986254/ ).
This is a little different to the usual types of tournaments we have, so let me talk you through why this is.
Every 2 years, the ITSF (International Table Soccer Federation) runs The World Championships (WC). The next one is in Hamburg in April 2017. This is an event where each country sends a number of representatives to compete. How these players are selected varies from country to country. In the UK we can send 4x representatives in each category (this is 4 x singles players and 4 x doubles teams). We have decided to take 1x of these places through a Player Of the Year ranking and the other 3x from the UK Championships.
As a qualification tournament, only British registered players can enter. For some more info on what this means, please see here – viewtopic.php?f=1&p=130266#p130266
The ITSF break players down into 4x groups – Women, Men, Senior & Junior. For the upcoming World Championships, each of these groups has 4x events – Singles, Doubles, Speedball Doubles & Classic Doubles.
As a qualification tournament, the UK Championships has all of these events. We have to miss out some of the popular events which appear at most other UK tournaments – such as Semi-Pro events, Mixed Doubles.
Events can also only be entered by eligible players. This means women cannot enter Men’s Events, and vice versa. It also means that you have to play Speedball Doubles & Classic Doubles with a partner who is in the same group as you, and both have to be eligible. So a woman must play with another woman, a senior with a senior, and a man with a man.
As a male senior, for example, is eligible for both Senior Singles, and Men’s Singles then he can enter both. Same for a female junior – who can enter both Junior Singles and Women’s Singles. If they qualify for both – they can only enter one at the World Championships, but it will be their prerogative to choose which to enter.
(As an extra note, the rules for Speedball Doubles & Classic Doubles can be found here ( viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10635#p130216 ). As a TL;DR Speedball is a fast paced game where you can only keep possession on each rod for a max of 5 seconds, and you cannot pin the ball for more than 1 second. In Classic Doubles the snake shot/roll-over is banned and you have 10 seconds of possession per rod.)
The BFA don’t believe in this segregation for our tournaments. I don’t want to see woman having to only play in their events. And I always want what we do to be open to players of all nationalities. However, as a qualification event for the ITSF World Championships we have to abide by their rules.
So this is why the UK Championships is a little different to most tournaments in the UK. I know there has been some confusion, so hopefully I have articulated myself well enough to make a little more sense of the situation.
If you have any further questions – then please get in touch by emailing email@example.com .
With the UKC being a WC qualification event, it is going to draw the best players in the UK. But this doesn’t mean that the tournament has to just be for these people. We’re also running Amateur Singles & Doubles, and Team matches on both the Friday and Saturday. We are also keeping entry fees low – at £5 per event for players ranked Amateur and above, and free for all beginner and unranked players. The purpose of the UKC is a qualification event for the top players, but this doesn’t also have to be its heart. I would love to see new players take the opportunity to take advantage of the free entry to come along and experience tournament foosball. I’d love to see teams bring along and involve new players, and this tournament is an ideal chance to do this.
I so desperately want to see a stronger sense of community from players in the UK tournaments. Closer links between the established pros and those keen and starting out. So I hope that offering free entry for new players at the UKC will help with this.
And this brings me on to wider issues outside of the UKC.
If someone were to ask me what the BFA is, I’d say that it is – or it should be – the community of players in the UK. There shouldn’t be a view that there are a limited few making the decisions and running things. The ideas, skills, and time of each and every player is important. If you have an opinion on something, you should share it without fear of being mocked or unheard. But with this comes a communal responsibility. If the community is silent, and this is damaging the health of our game at a national level, this is the equal responsibility of the players and the committee. The committee will try to be open, and give everyone a medium to speak and be heard – but we need to be told if you’re not happy that this exists. Those who run tournaments really do try to do their best – but if things go on that the players are not happy with then they need to speak up.
There is a business model of RIFICS – Revelation, Inspiration, Formalisation, Institutionalisation, Crystallisation, Secularisation. This is something that a lot of enterprises will go through, from their birth to death, if there is no intervention.
If the BFA gets to the stage of Crystallisation – where we are stuck in a rut, nothing is changing, and we are fading in stagnation – then this is the responsibility of us all.
It’s not a hard job to get passion out of those of us in the game. We play because we fundamentally have that passion. So throw a suggestion out there, ask for help, want to talk about an idea. Together we are unimaginably greater than alone. The best ideas, the best work, won’t be from one person. They’ll be from many, talking about things, and building.
Those behind the scenes are working to try to give you all the best tools to be able to implement ideas. Although I have to be vague for now when talking publically, there are external parties we are talking to which may shape how we run tournament, and what we can do. But don’t sit and wait for any big development announcements from the committee. Be the first to put your hand up and tell us all an idea. I have so many utterly brilliant friends in the game – I know so many fantastic people – and I know so many will help if given that first spark.