History of The ISAB


Subbuteo had been played long before The ISAB was founded in 2017.

However, with popularity of the game on the rise,

the need to formalize the rules became more

urgent than ever. Originally consisting of the four

British associations, The ISAB was joined by

FISA towards the end of the same year and gained the shape we know today.


The first official international Subbuteo match was played by thirteen competing teams (countries), on 22 and 23 August 1970 The Savoy Hotel hosted the first international Subbuteo Tournament. Germany won and the trophy was presented by Gordon Banks. At a time when organised Subbuteo had been given no expression in the formation of an official Global Subbuteo Association, became evident that a common set of rules was needed to ground the Game.

The International Subbuteo Association Board (The ISAB) first met on 26th December 2016 in London, an event attended by two representatives each from the English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh associations. The ISAB soon became established as the guardian of the unified Laws of the Game and tasked with preserving, monitoring, studying and amending Subbuteo rules. To this day the Laws of the Game can only be changed by The ISAB.

The Laws of the Game changed significantly over time. The most significant adaptations introduced in 2017, following the instinct of the member associations to follow the mother sport Football and IFAB. Figure’s no limited flicks, unlimited positional flicks and that the field ought to have the dimensions it still retains today are some of them to mention.


In 2017 in Larisa, Hellas, FISA was formed. As Subbuteo was getting popular globally, the members of the Federation International Subbuteo Association (FISA) recognised the need for a uniform set of game rules, just like the English associations had done decades earlier. This time around, however, there already existed a body from which to draw said rules. And so FISA accepted the Laws of the Game as laid out by The ISAB.


Integration of the organisations was formalised as FISA joined The ISAB as a full member. In the newly restructured body, FISA was given the same voting power as the original four associations put together.