USTSF APPLIES FOR USOC MEMBERSHIP
December 14, 2003 may become one of the most
important dates in
The USOC application form contains 23 multiple-part
questions that require 40 explanatory attachments. The USTSF completed
application consists of over 100 pages of text plus newsletters, posters and
photos in an overflowing three-inch three-ring binder, representing more than
50 hours of volunteer work by Kathy. The
USOC Membership Committee, based at the USOC headquarters in
The process of becoming a member of the USOC is a
long one. One USOC membership
requirement is that the sport's international federation must be a member of
the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC requires that an international
federation be in existence for a minimum of five years before it can be
admitted to the IOC. The International
Table Soccer Federation (ITSF), which has its headquarters in
The dream of Olympic recognition for the sport of table soccer has been discussed for many years. When another "table game"--table tennis-- was admitted to the USOC in the mid-80's, leaders in table soccer promotions began to seriously consider the possibility of table soccer as an Olympic sport.
"In 1984, I was working with a Belgian promoter, Sidi Airouss, to establish an international table soccer association with the goal of Olympic membership," stated Kathy, who was at that time president of the newly created independent players association called the USTSA. "We had drafted an international constitution and had contacted 16 countries.
"The plan was to use the American table manufactured by Dynamo as the internationally sanctioned table," she continued. "Unfortunately, Dynamo abruptly decided to discontinue its sponsorship of the pro tour, leaving the Eurpean investors in an untenable situation. The international movement also came to an abrupt halt."
Today, with the advent of the Internet, table soccer enthusiasts have quickly become aware of the worldwide popularity of the sport. The formation of an international federation is a natural development that has grown out of this new awareness. Increased international communication has led to increased international competition. And as more and more players have traveled to other countries to compete, there has been a realization of the need for internationally standardized rules and ratings, as well as for the coordination of the scheduling of international events.
Now, 18 years after the first attempt,
the dream of an international federation has come true, and the goal of Olympic
membership has been revived. This time,
the impetus has come from
"The more I work with Farid, the more impressed I become with his ability to get things accomplished in the international arena," said Kathy. "He brings an unprecedented level of diplomacy and professionalism to our sport."
an on-line message about the formation of the ITSF on the table soccer
newsgroup in the summer of 2002. As soon
as Kathy read Farid's message about the goal of
forming an international federation, she wanted to get the
"Early on, I could see that the
international movement, under Farid's leadership, was
going to take place with or without the
In order to become a member of the
ITSF, a country must organize an independent players association and be
recognized (or in the process of recognition) by that country's national sports
federation. For example, in
"As a high school teacher, I have
some free time in the summer," continued Kathy, "so I decided to
devote the summer of 2003 to the USOC application process. I realize, however, that the written
application is just the first step and that the USTSF and all of the
There are currently 36 sports organizations that are members of the USOC. They are as follows:
Track & Field
Will table soccer become the 37th USOC sport? "Why not?" asks Kathy. "When you look at the list of the recognized sports, which runs the gamut from archery to canoeing to badminton to sailing, the argument about whether table soccer deserves to be there is quickly answered with a resounding 'yes.' "
Stay tuned to this web site to follow the latest developments in the USTSF's quest for membership in the USOC. For the latest news about the ITSF, including the growing list of member nations, visit the ITSF site at www.table-soccer.org.