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Tunbridge Wells to host the 2024 Subbuteo World Cup after beating off competition to host the international event

Subbuteo is coming home - to a table near you.

Greece and Brazil had expressed interest in hosting the 2024 Federation of International Sports Table Football World Cup - but instead it will be held in Tunbridge Wells, near to where the sport began.

Tunbridge Wells is set to hold the Subbuteo World Cup in 2024. Picture: Tunbridge Wells Museum
Tunbridge Wells is set to hold the Subbuteo World Cup in 2024. Picture: Tunbridge Wells Museum

The area has a long association with the game - a table version of football - which was invented in 1946 by Peter Adolph at nearby Langton Green.

Mr Adolph, who died in 1994, was a keen football fan - supporting Queens Park Rangers - and after he left the RAF at the end of the Second World War, he came up with the idea for a new football game.

Around 32 countries are expected to be represented at the international event which will take place over four days that September.

As many as 64 games will be taking place simultaneously during the early stages of the tournament, which will be centred around the Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre on St John’s Road.

Cllr Jane March (Con), portfolio holder for environment, culture and leisure, told fellow councillors the news at a full council meeting yesterday.

It will be held at Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre
It will be held at Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre

She said: “The 2024 Subbuteo World Cup will take place here in Royal Tunbridge Wells - the natural home of the game that was invented and manufactured in Langton Green.

“This will be a huge event for the town and the wider borough, and we are confident that it will reawaken and unite Subbuteo and Table Football fans from all over the world.

“I’m sure that councillors will join me in welcoming the fact that Subbuteo Table Football is ‘coming home’!”

The World Cup was last held in the UK, in Manchester, in 2012.

World Cup hopefuls will have to qualify to represent their country, with a team of four players entering the tournament from each nation.

The English Subbuteo Association (ESA) vice-chairman Alan Lee said: “Winning the bid with the unanimous support of the world governing body to host this prestigious event is a very proud moment for me personally and the rejuvenated English Association.

“The ESA board has committed to making this event the ‘best-ever’ World Cup and something the nation can get behind and be proud of.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council as Subbuteo really is coming home.”

Greece and Brazil also expressed an interest in hosting, although Brazil withdrew their bid when they learned the event could be played in Tunbridge Wells.

The first Subbuteo World Cup took place at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1970.

The origins and history of the Subbuteo game will feature in The Story of the Wells, one of the new galleries in The Amelia Scott, when it opens in Tunbridge Wells this April.

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