Monday, 7 January 2013

Looking for a bright future


After a very promising year 2012 with 61 tournaments played under WASPA banner, it is time to speak about the future of WASPA with Vincent Coppenolle, the organizer and founder of theWASPA circuit.

Vincent Coppenolle, did you expect such a development?
Definately no! Last year in Januay, WASPA was still very small with only 15 tournaments held in a few different places. Month after month, there was more interest shown for WASPA by different subbuteo clubs from around the world. It was very exciting to hold the first tournaments in Italy because it's really the "country of subbuteo" and suddenly more italian clubs have been attracted by WASPA.

Italy is not everything. There were some other interesting developments...
Absolutely. I was very happy that WASPA contributed to relaunch subbuteo tournaments in Canada and Australia. Right now things remain small in Australia because tournaments are only held in Penrith (near Sydney) but there are good hopes that more events will be held in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide in the future. As for Canada, the development has been huge.. Thanks to Shane Hoopfer's efforts, tournaments have been hald in four different cities (Vancouver, Toronto, Hamilton and Calgary) and there are good hopes that more cities and clubs will be involved in the future. We can not forget that the very first tournament in Hong Kong was held in April 2012 under WASPA banner.

Some other nations have also supported the WASPA circuit...
I was extremely happy to have more tournaments in the US. I remember the very first WASPA tournament was held in California but since then we have had events in Michigan, Delaware and Maryland. There will be a tournament in Florida in March. Some other nations have also supported WASPA by organising tournaments. South Africa, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Northern Ireland and Ireland are happy to be part of our family. I also believe there will be many tournaments in the UK in 2013.

What are the goals of WASPA for the future?
2013 can be the year of development with more tournaments and more regular organizers. I hope nations such as Sweden and Denmark will be organizing tournaments again and hopefully we will have the first tournaments in Malaysia and South America. Hopefully more locations will be added in the "WASPA circuit map".

Do you think the relaunch of the gameSubbuteo will help to boost WASPA?
I think we have to help each other. The fact that Subbuteo material will be available in shops in many countries will create interest and many new players will be interested to join tournaments in the future. WASPA can also help Subbuteo by organizing tournaments in shopping malls or shops. The tournaments held at the Mega Games shop in Penrith (Australia) are just the way to go! One of my dreams is to reach some agreement with Subbuteo in the future. We don't need money from them but it would be great if Subbuteo could announce our tournaments and add a link to our blog. We have had support from Superfooty and hopefully we will have more partners in the future.

There will also be more types of tournaments in the future, right?
Since January 1, 2013 organizers can not only host regional tournaments and tournaments with the old rules. It is also possible to organize some "promotional tournaments" for players who are not in the top 50 of the ranking. Nations will also have the possibility to host a "National Cup Challenge" that should be bigger than a "Regional tournament".

Do you think FISTF and WASPA can live together?
Absolutely, FISTF is made for elite players and players who take the game very seriously. If some players are not scared to travel to play only two games, they can go to FISTF events. WASPA is made to offer more games to weaker players and to the players who can not afford to travel very often. It is also very positive to see some top players such as Mark Gauci or Joseph Mifsud taking part in WASPA tournaments just because they love the game!

What do you say to people who think WASPA is made to divide the table football community?
It's totally wrong. We have to learn from other sports. As a big fan of cyclo-cross, I have learned that sometimes a sport can be very popular in one country and much less popular in other nations. The cyclo-cross world cup has 7 or 8 races in different nations. In the belgian races, there are sometimes 20.000 spectators while there are sometimes less than 1000 spectators in Italy, Czech Republic or Spain. In Belgium, many races that don't count for the world cup have created their own "challenges of regularity" to attract more attention from the medias. Even if these events don't count for the world cup, there are always most of the top riders taking part, many spectators and TV channels covering the races live! We can do something similar with subbuteo. Having many small events being "part of something" because they can not be part of the FISTF circuit can only be positive for organizers and players.

What would be the final word?
I just want to say to organizers that they should not be scared to be part of the WASPA circuit. Once they will be part of the family, they will just enjoy it! Subbuteo remains the most beautiful game on the planet and WASPA would like to help new players to feel welcome in tournaments.