Time For Some Swamp Sport
1. What is swamp soccer?
It’s a 6 players per side game of soccer played on a field covered in one foot of muck. Not satisfied with inventing the Molotov Cocktail and sending their teenagers out to race at world rallies, the Fins also came up with the concept of playing soccer in a swamp. Other versions say Swamp Soccer originated as a British Army Training exercise, which became popular when skier Esa Romppainen got involved.
2. Is it played in a real swamp?
Stewart Miller, the Scot who invented the sport in the ‘90s meant for it to be played in swamps due to their abundance in Finland. However, as it moved to the cities, lack of swamps forced organisers to improvise. They would take a field about quarter of the size of a regular football field and dig it up; then they would fill the field with a mixture of mud and water and leave it for 12 hours. In case the land owners are too possessive, they will use inflatables (supersized versions of kiddie pools for a game).
3. Are the rules any different?
“Yes, there’s no off-side rule. Also, players drop the ball and kick it in case of a penalty kick since it’s not really possible to kick a ball straight off the muck,” Kamlesh Sharma, Managing Director Convergence Events explains. Kick-offs, throw-ins, corners all follow the same pattern. A team can have as many substitutions as it wants andcan have both male and female players.
4. Does anyone else play this other than the fins?
Actually, yes. Eight other countries do and close to 20,000 people stay up to watch the matches in China. Moreover, anyone can make a team of friends, family or colleagues and register – you don’t have to be Bale or Ronaldo to play.
The total game is 30 mins composed of two 12-minute halves. The time spent in getting mud out of your fingernails and hair is extra.
6. The Kit
The kits are the same but players use flat soled shoes instead of studs. To make sure the shoes don’t go off in the heat of the game, players’ tie and tape up their shoes to their feet.
7. Swamp Soccer’s India Chapter
Its Indian organisers hope to capitalise on our unending quest for cool and will launch league tournaments in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. The winner will then compete in the World Cup of Swamp Soccer in Blairmore Farms, Scotland this June.