Swamp football: the quintessential dirty game

Low-key sports
Chandler Lee
Swamp football: the quintessential dirty game
It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

Finnish cross-country skiers are considered to be the initiators of this specific type of soccer, as they decided to diversify their training on a demanding, peaty surface in an unusual way. Certainly they did not expect that after several years swamp football will be known on almost all continents. Today, there is no shortage of mud football enthusiasts in Russia, Turkey, Holland, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Brazil, and even India!

The rules of mud-ball were patented in the frigid homeland of Jyrki Väänänen, who is considered to be the prototype of this unusual sport. 1998 also saw the first official tournaments, which attracted more than a dozen teams. Five years later, during the premiere edition of the World Swamp Football Championship, already 260 teams from different parts of the globe joined the competition.

Swamp football began to gain popularity especially in regions where traditional football games are very popular. The rules of both sports are very similar – the differences mostly concern the organization of the game. In contrast to classic soccer, two teams of six players (a goalkeeper and five field players) take part in mud-ball matches. The game consists of two halves of 12 minutes each, and the arena is a 60 x 35 m square. A peculiarity is the way in which the fixed parts of the game are executed – first the ball must be tossed with the hand and then it can be kicked. The rule about burning the ball, which generates so much excitement on grass fields, does not apply either.

Swamp football arrived in Poland less than a decade ago. In 2011 the first Polish Championships in Swamp Football were held in Krasnobrod near Zamosc. The historic triumpher was the team BKS Roztocze Krasnobród, which proved to be better than Arsenal Lublin and … bKS reserves. It is the Lublin region, where the most important national events have been held for several years, that should be considered the Polish cradle of mud soccer. Since 2017, tournaments of the championship rank are hosted alternately in two villages located in the Biłgoraj district – in Biszcza or Kucły. The current defenders of the title are OSP Kargów (MP) and Torfowy Dr Tusz Białystok (PP). The team from Podlasie has also had great international successes, led by the World Championship in mudball won over five years ago in Istanbul.

Our “mudders” are doing equally well in national team games. The inaugural duel with Germany they settled in their favor in a ratio as high as 8:3, while in 2014 they won the silver medal at the unofficial championship of the Old Continent in the Belgian Eksel, yielding only to the Dutch. In the last friendly against Montenegro they scored four goals, capitulating only once.

As the players themselves emphasize, one of the biggest advantages of swamp football is the friendly and positive atmosphere on the pitch. In swamp football we will not see regular fights between the participants, on the contrary – most of the disputable situations are resolved in accordance with the canons of fair play. Additionally, there are no age barriers, so anyone who doesn’t mind swimming in a sticky suspension can compete.

“The coolest thing about mud ball is that anyone can come and play, and will not stand out from others, because here it is not about super skills. It’s just about competition and playing hard.” – mateusz Cieszko (Peat Dr. Tusz Białystok) says in the “Łączy Nas Piłka” report.

Featured photo: Wikipedia

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