History of Futnet – Main Milestones

 

1. Futnet came into existence in Czechoslovakia during the trainings of football players – juniors (the name of club was Slavia Prague) approximately in 1922. The aim was to have fun with a ball, to play tennis with the feet. At first they played over a wooden bench, later using a rope instead of the net. At the same time a similar game was also played in the town of České Budějovice. It was a sport for everybody, with very simple rules, called at the beginning football over the rope.

2. Further development of this sport (since 1935) is also connected with football players (Borkovec, Čapek, Kubát) in the place called Žluté lázně or Yellow Spa nearby the Vltava river in Prague. Later, better-known football players (Bican, Ludl, Říha, Bradáč) joined the game and regular futnet tournaments were held between 1939 and 1948.

3. First futnet rules were issued in 1940 (authors Kulhánek, Borkovec) and in 1940s futnet was promoted during volleyball matches in recreation cottage settlements built by tramps.

4. Futnet appeared in France in 1943, imported from the East when Mr. Albert Batteux (coach of the football team of France and Stade de Reims) decided to improve the technical skills of his players by making them play on a tennis court with a football ball.
5. Thanks to Prague footballers who used to come to the famous spa town of Piešťany, in 1945, futnet was imported also to Slovakia. They used play the game at the volleyball court of the outdoor swimming pool and gradually were joined by local water polo players and swimmers who very quickly got the hang of the game.

6. A tramps league called Tournament of Old Wanderers was set up in the Czech part of the country, with the participation of 10 teams (1953-1961).

7. In 1961 futnet was accepted as real sport in the frame of Czechoslovak Sports Organisation (ČSTV) and the Prague Futnet Commission was established. During 1961 –1971 about 90 teams took part in Prague competitions. Many teams were playing tournaments all over the Czech Republic in different districts.

8. In 1971, Czech Futnet Association was founded (futnet was organised and played in 11 districts). Since 1972 the 1st league has been played. In Slovakia, 1st league started in 1973 and a year later, Slovak Futnet Association was set up.

9. In February 1987 five countries (Switzerland, England, Italy, Romania, Germany) founded the world governing body International Football-Tennis Association (IFTA) in Biel, Switzerland.

10. More countries joined IFTA in the following years, among them Austria, Brasil, France, Czechoslovakia (after the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic became two independent members), Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Norway, Turkey, Russia, US, Ukraine, etc. Eventually, some countries also left FIFTA, for example Germany, Greece, Brasil, Austria…

11. In 1991, 1st Men’s European Championships took place in Switzerland and Hungary and 1st World Championship was held in Slovakia in 1994.

12. In 2000, 1st World Championship for Women and Juniors took place in Slovakia.

13. In 2004, IFTA was renamed to FIFTA (Fédération Internationale de Footballtennis Association) following a French proposal.

14. With the exception of one-off appearances in World or European championships by some non-members, FIFTA has not managed to attract many new countries from different continents and has even lost some of its old members. In the last 20 years, futnet has not recorded any significant development, on the contrary, it has been stagnating or in decline even in some previously strong countries.

15. European Futnet Association (EFTA) was founded on 24 April 2010 in Marseille, France by France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Catalonia, Basque Country and Romania (later left EFTA). In late 2010 and early 2011 they were joined by Denmark, England, Poland, Ukraine and Austria.

16. In FIFTA, numerous internal problems hindering real progress reached their peak in 2010 and led some countries to the decision to leave FIFTA and to found a new international association Union Internationale de Futnet on 16 October 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland. Of the former FIFTA countries, among UNIF founding members were France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Catalonia, Argentina, joined by FIFTA candidates Australia and Costa Rica and other countries like Poland, Denmark, Malaysia, Basque Country, South Africa, US and England. In early 2011 Ukraine joins UNIF.