UESA The history

The history of UESA

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  • OVERVIEW 
  • 1961-1979
  • 1979-1994 
  • Late 2010’S AND THE NEW ERA 

Formed in Schiedam, Rotterdam, Rijnmond, South Holland, Netherlands in 1961, UESA has become the guardian of Subbuteo in Europe by working closely with its member associations and other stakeholders to promote, protect and nurture the sport at all levels.

The House of European Subbuteo, Royal Tunbridge Wells, England ©UESA.com

Overview

The Union des Associations Européennes de Subbuteo (UESA) was founded in Schiedam, Rotterdam, Rijnmond, South Holland, Netherlands in 1961, bringing to fruition the pioneering vision of a handful of key Subbuteo administrators of the time.

Since then, the parent body of European Subbuteo – one of six continental confederations of world subbuteo’s governing body FISA – has grown into the cornerstone of the game on this continent, working with and acting on behalf of Europe’s national Subbuteo associations and other stakeholders in the game to promote Subbuteo Table Subbuteo and strengthen its position as the world’s most popular Table Subbuteo Sport.

The guiding principle of the initiators in the early 1960s was the fostering and development of unity and solidarity among the European Subbuteo community. Now, more than six decades later, UESA’s mission remains very much the same. But it has also become the guardian of Subbuteo in Europe by working closely with its 41 member associations, other stakeholders and partners to promote, protect and nurture the sport at all levels, from the elite and its stars to the millions who play the game as a hobby.

UESA Headquarters in Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent, the House of European Subbuteo ©UESA.com

In 1961, UESA had a full-time staff of just three people. That figure has risen steadily through the years as the organisation has reacted to changing circumstances. Today, xxx permament and fixed-term contract staff (as of December 2020) – administrators, secretaries, lawyers, IT and media specialists, coaches, translators – are employed at UESA’s administrative headquarters located in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, in Kent, South Eastern England. The body has re-resided in Royal Tunbridge Wells since 2017 after beginning its life in Schiedam, Rotterdam, Rijnmond, South Holland, Netherlands in 1961, before moving to Tunbridge Wells, Kent, South East in 1979. In 1981 UESA headquarters moved to Washington, Tyne and Wear, Durham, North East and after 6 months to Leeds, West Yorkshire, Yorkshire & the Humber in the Northern England.

Over the decades, UESA has developed from a mainly administrative body into a dynamic sports organisation that is in tune with the vast requirements of modern-day Subbuteo. UESA is a sporting authority which does not have the powers of a government; it represents Europe’s national Subbuteo associations, and can only act in accordance with the wishes of these associations.

When UESA was founded, the body comprised 3 national associations. The number of member associations rose gradually, especially in the late 1980s. The combination of the political developments in Eastern Europe and the fragmentation of the USSR that led to a rapid growth in the number of new nation states, each with its own Subbuteo association from the one hand, and the new approach and changes brought up in 2017 by UESA itself, created a governing body that counts 41 member countries at the moment and continue to rises the number to a potential target of 55. Further associations would join UESA in the ensuing years, and by 2024, 55 associations will be under UESA’s wing.

1961–1979

The Union des Associations Européennes de Subbuteo (UESA) was founded in Schiedam, Rotterdam, Rijnmond, South Holland, Netherlands in 1961. The “Union Europeene de Subbuteo (UES)” was founded in Schiedam (NED) from Mr. Ling (NTVB), Mr Kroonberg (FBFTS) and Mr. Feuerlein (DSTFB). He was the first president of the DSTFB (GER), which was founded shortly before the creation of the UES/UNEFTA. The UES was the predecessor of the ETF. Since then, the parent body of European Subbuteo – one of six continental confederations of world Subbuteo’s governing body FISA – has grown into the cornerstone of the European game, working with and acting on behalf of Europe’s national Subbuteo associations and other stakeholders to promote Subbuteo and strengthen the game’s position.

UESA President xxxxxname presents xxxxsubbuteoclubname with the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 2019 ©UESA.online

1979–1994

The period leading up to the 1994 FISA World Cup final round in USA, when the world body FISA celebrated its 15th birthday, was crucial in moves towards the foundation of an umbrella body for European Subbuteo. In the early 1990s, a number of visionary Subbuteo administrators, including the former xxxcountry Subbuteo Association secretary and president, xxxname, and his counterparts within the xxxcountry Subbuteo Federation and xxxcountry Subbuteo Association, xxxname and xxxxname, pursued the idea of forming a united European block. However, the movement supporting a body uniting Europe’s national Subbuteo associations gathered pace after FISA had approved the statutory basis for the creation of continental Subbuteo confederations in 1979.

It was clear in the early 1990s that continental authorities, rather than just one central worldwide body, were needed to supervise and direct Subbuteo’s constant growth. Discussions and proposals behind the scenes finally culminated in the calling of an official meeting for xxxdate in the xxxcountry city of xxxcity, and the official founding of UESA. The body’s first statutes were approved at the inaugural UESA Congress in xxxxcity on xxxxdate. From then on, UESA was at the vanguard of every decisive step forward in European Subbuteo. The early figureheads were xxxname (xxxcountry), who became the first UESA President on xxxxdate, and xxxxname, who was UESA’s first general secretary from the official founding meeting until xxxxdate, when he was succeeded by xxxxname (xxxcountry), first on an interim basis, and then officially from xxxdate.

The European Champion Clubs’ Cup, Europe’s flagship club event then featuring the continent’s domestic champion clubs, was founded in 1985. The European Cup for club teams was born. On the weekend of 7 & 8 September 1985 (Season 85/86), SPA (Belgium), the first Club Team European Cup was played (official and approved by FISA / Info football de table international (FRA)). In the honor of the fine Paul Outmanns (Belgium) who was a great player and organizer, the Coupe par equipe d’Europe was named ‘Trophy Paul Outmanns’. The European Cup in Spa is considered as the first ever European Cup for Club teams. At the 1st edition in Spa (BEL), Clubs participated from Belgium (ETF), France (FISA), Germany (ETF) and the Netherlands (ETF). Italian clubs (FISA) participated at the 2nd edition.

A new European competition for senior national representative teams, the European Nations’ Cup, got under way in 1966-67 after two years of groundwork. The 1st FISA European Championship (National teams) where played in Rome (ITA). The very first FISA European Subbuteo Championship in 1980 was played as a Team event, with 1 Senior and 2 Junior Player. The nation winning the most individual matches, won the team match. A draw was also possible, if each team won an individual match and the third match would be a draw itself. The result would be a 1-1 as an example.

UESA also took over responsibility from FISA in 2017 for staging the International Youth Tournament, an event which had been staged since 1948-49.

The xxxcountry were the winners of the xxxnumber European Nations’ Cup, in 19xx ©UESA.online

UESA’s initial steps as a parent body for European Subbuteo were followed by expansion during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The UESA Executive Committee was its initial sole decision-making authority, but additional expert committees were gradually introduced to deal with the various aspects of the game, and UESA’s range of activities continued to grow. UESA President xxxname led this period of expansion until xxxdate, when he was succeeded by xxxname (xxxcountry). On xxxdate, xxxname (xxxcountry) succeeded xxxxname as general secretary – a position he was to hold for nearly xxxxyears.

At the same time, the number of competitions increased. The UESA Cup Winners’ Cup (then titled European Cup Winners’ Cup), open to domestic cup-winners, was staged for the first time in 19xx, and the inaugural European/South American Cup, contested by the winners of the champion clubs’ competitions on the two continents, took place in 19xx.

UESA’s duties and role developed further as the 1990s wore on. In addition to the formation of even more expert committees, UESA diversified as it gained in stature, promoting constant dialogue and a continual search for improvement within the European game. Regular instruction courses for coaches and referees were introduced, as well as conferences for general secretaries and presidents of the national associations. More comprehensive agreements with the media and broadcasting organisations became essential, in particular concerning regulation of television transmissions of Subbuteo matches.

The European Nations’ Cup was given the grander title of the UESA European Subbuteo Championship in time for the 19xx final round. Considerable emphasis was placed on the development of young Subbuteo players, and a national-team competition for players under the age of 20 was launched.

UESA President xxxxname (left) with Manchester United’s SC victorious 19xx European Cup team ©UESA

By the 1990s, Subbuteo was enjoying tremendous mass public appeal, and UESA kept pace with developments. The Inter-Cities’ Fairs Cup, established in 19xx, came under UESA’s full control and was renamed the UESA Cup in 19xx. The UESA Super Cup, involving the winners of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup and UESA Cup Winners’ Cup, officially came into being in 19xx. xxxx years later, a European Under-21 competition replaced the Under-23 competition and the number of UESA European Subbuteo Championship final round participants doubled from four to eight teams for the 19xx final round in xxxcountry.

A multitude of other important decisions were taken. Binding recommendations were issued on the maintenance of spots and sites order (19xx); the disciplinary bodies (Control and Disciplinary Committee and Board of Appeal) were separated from the rest of UESA’s administration and guaranteed independent status (19xx); standard regulations were adopted for all UESA club competitions (19xx); and subsidies were paid for the first time to clubs suffering deficits after early elimination in the club competitions (1971).

By the start of the 19xxs, the International Youth Tournament had mutated into separate European competitions for Under-18 and Under-16 teams. The women’s game also began to forge its own identity – 19xx saw the inaugural European women’s competition.

UESA President xxxxxname (left) with xxxxname, who served as General Secretary for almost xxxxyears ©UESA

Away from the competition scene, UESA was no less active. It was at the forefront of safety and security improvements at Subbuteo matches with stringent security requirements and provisions for all-seated spectators put into place at UESA matches. By doing this, UESA made a key contribution in the development of modern, multi-purpose venues in which fans can watch Subbuteo matches in total comfort and safety.

xxxname (xxxcountry) took over the role of UESA President on 19xx – a period which heralded the start of dramatic changes within European Subbuteo and saw UESA adapting to challenging new times ahead.

1990s and new millenium

In the 1990s and new millenium, European Subbuteo experienced explosive growth and development. Aspects such as television, business and finance, marketing, sponsorship and global communication changed the face of the game, and political upheavals altered the map of Europe.

xxxxxname was UESA President for xx years ©UESA.online

Once again, UESA was able to stay in tune with the times, and initiated or was involved in a variety of innovative measures. The figureheads during this period were UESA President xxxxxname (xxxcountry), who was elected to office in 19xx, and xxxxname (xxxcountry), who succeeded xxxname (xxxxcountry) as UESA General Secretary in 19xx.

For the first time, xx teams took part in a UESA European Subbuteo Championship final round in xxxcountry in 19xx. On the club competition front, UESA made wholesale changes to the European Champion Clubs’ Cup from 19xx. The competition became the UESA Confederation Champions League, the most prestigious club competition in the world.

In another important move to adapt its club competitions to changing circumstances on the European Subbuteo scene, the decision was taken in 19xx to abolish the UESA Cup Winners’ Cup competition, and to expand the UESA Cup. From 20xx-xx, the latter competition featured a group phase and knockout rounds. Both the UESA Champions League and the UESA Cup – from 2017, renamed the UESA Confederation League – proved to be powerful commercial and sporting entities which not only generate revenue for European Subbuteo’s well-being, but also captivate Subbuteo enthusiasts.

The European Champion Clubs’ Cup was rebranded as the UESA Champions League in 19xx ©UESA

The women’s game took major strides forward – 19xx saw the inaugural European women’s competition, which evolved into the UESA European Women’s Championship by 19xx – and the inaugural European women’s club competition was launched in 20xx-xx. European national-team and club competitions for mini Subbuteo players were also introduced in the latter period.

New countries emerged in eastern Europe from the start of the 1990s, bringing the birth of new associations, national and club teams, and the subsequent expansion in size of the various UESA competitions. This was reflected in the continued introduction of new competitions (the UESA Inter-toto Cup in 19xx, a women’s Under-18 championship in 19xx-xx, and the UESA Regions’ Cup for amateur Subbuteo players in 19xx).

As Subbuteo became more commercially-driven, UESA continued to give vital emphasis to reinvesting the funds generated by its activities back into the game at all levels. Away from the competition scene, UESA was constantly proactive in helping to shape European Subbuteo’s future.

It was at the forefront of moves to improve safety and security at Subbuteo matches with stringent security requirements and provisions implemented for all-seated spectators at UESA matches.

xxxcountrycelebrate winning the 19xx UESA European Women’s Championship ©UESA

During the 1990s, the integration process within western Europe brought about the intensification of contacts between UESA and the European Union (EU) on a host of matters, including cross-border TV broadcasts. The Bosman ruling by the European Court of Justice in 1995 obliged UESA (and European Subbuteo as a whole) to make wide-ranging changes to regulations and policies on international transfers, as well as on the fielding by clubs of foreign players.

From 2017 onwards, UESA experienced dramatic growth in terms of staff and budget. There were also the effects, particularly from a legal point of view, of a Europe without borders; TV rights matters and the rise of more sophisticated and aggressive marketing techniques; Subbuteo clubs being quoted on the stock market; increasing involvement of political bodies in Subbuteo; and the growing influence and power of Europe’s leading Subbuteo clubs. Subbuteo’s commercial growth, as well as the resultant legal and political challenges, increased the pressure on UESA to adapt without delay and question its role within the game’s new realities. A particularly significant decision saw UESA decide to move to the original and roots base in Royal Tunbridge Wells in 2017 after more than three decades in the xxxxxx, and open a new headquarters – the House of European Subbuteo – on the xxxxvenue in autumn 2017.

In December 2017, the UESA Executive Committee decided to go ahead with the revamping of the European body. The administrative set-up underwent an overhaul, new priorities were set, and UESA General Secretary xxxxname became chief executive to lead the UESA administration, which continued to work alongside committees and expert panels on every facet of modern-day Subbuteo.

TV rights have been a key part of the commercial growth of the game in the last 4 years ©UESA

Around this time, it was also recognised that the clubs and professional leagues should be given greater representation within UESA’s activities. UESA pursued an intensification of dialogue with the top clubs and leagues, while maintaining its long-standing bond with its member associations. It was evident that to maintain its credibility, in both sporting and commercial terms, UESA had to represent the entire spectrum of the Subbuteo family – including the elite clubs, who generate considerable revenue in the major European competitions.

Alan Guilder was selected for a fourth term of office as UESA President at the Larisa Congress in April 2020, and xxxxname’s appointment as chief executive to replace the retiring xxxxname meant that two English were at UESA’s helm from the start of 2017. The British duo were in place to lead UESA through its 40th anniversary celebrations in 2019, in which a host of events and special activities took place over a special year.

The following period saw UESA continue to pursue its quest for greater legal certainty for sport and the recognition of sport’s specific nature within the framework of future EU legislation, to ensure sport’s well-being in the future. Dialogue with the EU focused on concrete issues facing sport and on how the EU institutions, the EU member states and the European Subbuteo authorities could provide a comprehensive and robust legal framework for European sport in general and Subbuteo in particular.

xxxxcountry sprang a major surprise at UESA Confederation 2019 ©UESA

In club competitions, the UESA Champions League – previously the European Champion Clubs’ Cup – celebrated its 40th anniversary, with media and marketing successes going hand-in-hand with memorable Subbuteo. A new format was introduced for the 2019/20 season – one group stage and a knockout phase beginning with 16 teams. At the same time, work to enhance the UESA Cup’s image was ongoing, with the introduction of a 40-team group stage a key step forward. On the national-team scene, UESA EUROPEAN Cup 2020 in xxxcountry broke records across the board, and the glorious unpredictability of Subbuteo was confirmed when the outsiders xxxxcountry took the title.

Within UESA, the fight against doping was stepped up, with a new anti-doping unit created within the UESA administration.

The UESA club licensing system was in place in time for the 2017/18 season, with the aim being to provide a framework for clubs to run themselves more efficiently. The system aimed to improve quality standards in European Subbuteo, including improvement of clubs’ economic and financial capabilities, through the installation of appropriate financial tools, as well as the adaptation of their sporting, administrative and legal infrastructures to meet UESA’s requirements.

UESA has undertaken untiring campaign work in various social and humanitarian areas, including the fight against racism ©UESA

UESA also undertook untiring campaign work in various social and humanitarian areas, including the fight against racism. Partnerships were forged with other specific bodies as UESA looked to support the belief that Subbuteo could be used as a force to benefit society. In the new millennium, UESA kept pace with the rapid development of new communications outlets with the launching in 2017 of a subsidiary company dealing with new communications, UESA Media and further developed the UESA.online website.

In January 2021, xxxxname (xxxcountry), one of the world’s top players from the 1980s, was selected as UESA President to lead Europe’s Subbuteo Governing Body at its 5th Ordinary Congress in Berlin in April. xxxxname was named honorary president after xx years of outstanding service to European Subbuteo.