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Swamp football (sometimes called Swamp soccer) is a form of association football that is played in bogs or swamps. The sport is said to come from Finland where it initially was used as an exercise activity for athletes and soldiers, since playing on soft bog is physically demanding. The first organised championship was the 1998 Finnish championship and was the brainchild of Jyrki Väänänen nicknamed "The Swamp Baron". There are currently an estimated 260 swamp football teams around the world.
The World Championship in swamp football is played annually on Vuorisuo bog in Hyrynsalmi, Finland, the first taking place in 2000. At the swamp football world championship games of 2005, some 5,000 players participated. The European Championship in swamp football is held in Ísafjörður in the north west part of Iceland.
Swamp football in the UK
In 2008 the Dunoon competition moved to nearby Strachur to become the World Cup. 43 teams entered the tournament, which was contested over 3 days. Top honours went to Team Rambos in the men's competition with Belgium's De Rode Modderduivels winning the mixed competition. In 2011 the tournament moved to Edinburgh and 2012 will be held in Inverness, the capital city of the Scottish Highlands
The standard football rules have been modified significantly to suit the demanding sport:
- The game is played in two halves of 13 minutes
- Boots can not be changed during the game
- Corner kicks, penalties and throw-ins are made with punts
- There is no off-side rule
- The penalty area is 5 meters deep but the goalkeeper is only allowed to hold the ball in a three metre radius from the goal
- There are 6 players on the field, with maximum of 12 in the squad
- The players can be substituted as often as they want
- For major tournaments outside Finland the pitch can simply be a dry muddy field which is covered in water, rather than a naturally occurring swamp. The dimensions of the pitch are roughly 60m long and 35 metres wide
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