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‘First ever table football school’ opens in France

A “table football school” has opened in Lyon, claiming to be the first of its kind in France and capitalising on the nostalgia of the popular bar game.

The school, spearheaded by Le Club Villeurbannais du Rhône Sportif Football de Table, was first launched this week in the city’s Mairie building.

Table football, often known in French as “baby-foot” and in the US as “foosball”, used to be seen in many larger bars and working clubs, but fans say that the game has started to disappear in recent years.

Now, three tables have been installed - with a fourth one to come - in the Mairie ahead of the start of the school’s first course in table football.

Around 20 students have enrolled in the course, which will offer weekly lessons for €75 per half-season, every Thursday night from 19h-22h.

The curriculum has been created with an educational guide provided by national federation La Fédération Française de Football de Table, which has 3,000 members across France.

Nicolas Constantin, French table football doubles champion, said: “Just like billiard games, the virtual world [of computer games] has kind of taken over. But that doesn’t stop the fact that this is one of the only disciplines that can bring together and entertain the whole family.

“We want to put table football back in the limelight.”

Asked if table football should be seen as a “real sport”, Mr Constantin said: “Yes, even though it is not yet considered as such. Some players train several hours a day and watch their diet, to strengthen their arms, shoulders, and back. At high levels, it is 80% a game of strategy.”

At the time of writing, the club is still taking new students through the Lyon 6th Mairie, on 06 27 59 09 13 or at (in French).

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