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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 officially recognised global body for Swamp Soccer is Swamp Soccer UK Ltd, based in Scotland. As well as managing the Swamp Soccer World Cup, Swamp Soccer UK has a mission to introduce the sport to other countries. Headed up by Stewart Miller, in the last few years (2011 to 2013) official tournaments have been launched in China (Beijing), Turkey (Istanbul) and India (Mumbai).
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 Swamp Soccer World Cup has moved back to its spiritual home, to the Dunoon area in 2013. This year the Ardbeg Swamp Soccer World Cup will be held on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June, at Blairmore Farm
The standard football rules have been modified significantly to suit the demanding sport:
- The game is played in two halves of 12 minutes
- Corner kicks, penalties and throw-ins are made by dropping the ball on to a chosen foot
- There is no off-side rule
- There are 6 players on the field, with no limit on the size of squads
- The players can be substituted as often as they want
- The World Cup is held in Scotland annually, usually on the last weekend in June
- World Championship is held in Finland annually, usually in the middle of June a week before World Cup
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