May 3, 2018 / 4:13 PM / 2 months ago

All-female table football set scores own goal with limited UK release

LONDON, May 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The first all-female edition of the popular British table football game Subbuteo is being celebrated as a boost for women players, but some fans say its makers have missed a trick by not putting it on general sale.

Toymaker Hasbro created the limited edition set to mark the Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday, Britain’s Football Association (FA) said in a statement. The players are modelled on the teams competing in the final, Arsenal and Chelsea.

“We want to achieve greater equality in football, from board games to boardrooms,” the FA’s head of marketing for women’s football, Marzena Bogdanowicz, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Giving female football its rightful place within Subbuteo for the first time in its history is a very small example of that.”

Bogdanowicz said the limited edition sets would be given out through the FA’s social media channels and fans would have the opportunity to win one at the women’s final, but they will not go on general sale.

Sophie Downey, co-founder of the GirlsontheBall website which reports on the women’s game, said launching an all-female set was a positive move, but more needed to be done to promote the game.

“We’ve been wanting this for a long time and it shows the FA are working hard to open up the game to a wider market audience,” Downey told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“As a women’s football fan, it’s a shame that more people could not get a hold of a set.”

The FA said it was in talks with Hasbro to make sets featuring women players for commercial sale in the future.

Women’s football is gaining in popularity, although it still lags the fame associated with men playing the sport.

Subbuteo has been around since the mid-1940s and is played using tiny plastic characters that are flicked around on a table-top football pitch.

Reporting by Serena Chaudhry; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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