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Thursday, September 24th, 2020

Golbang — the Twitter generation's 'beautiful game'

by September 19, 2017 General
AFP/File / Dibyangshu SARKARIn Golbang, those who pull off the astonishing scorpion save, the trademark of former Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita, pick up 20 points

Golbang, a new three-a-side format of the beautiful game, hopes to fill the same role as Twenty20 and sevens in cricket and rugby, its creator Bruno Schwobthaler told AFP.

The Frenchman’s brainchild can be played by mixed sex teams with a single goal and one team defending and one attacking with the sides swopping over after 15 minutes.

Schwobthaler, a Warner Bros executive for 20 years, launched Golbang in May after what he calls his mid-life crisis.

He considered football to be too conservative and required an injection of entertainment and backed this up by research he commissioned which sampled 1000 French people aged between 15-45.

“It started out of frustration as I always felt football could be so much more exciting if you were not a fan,” he told AFP at the Soccerex Global Convention this month.

“If now you invented football would you make it 90 minutes with that size of pitch and 11 players a side?

“I think football would struggle to find its place as the attention span of people is less.

“So I was thinking launching today what would we do and the answer was it would be quick, accessible and where winning is not at all costs.”

AFP/File / Dibyangshu SARKARFormer Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita controls the ball during a Golbang exhibition match between the Brazilian Masters and Indian All Stars in Kolkata on December 8, 2012

In Golbang, goals are rewarded with points, a header into the top corner earning 20 points, a shot in the top corner 10 whilst those who pull off the astonishing scorpion save, the trademark of former Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita, pick up 20 points.

Schwobthaler said moments like Higuita’s save should be treasured not criticised.

– ‘The Scorpion Show’ –

“It always amazed me that when you have assets like (Antonin) Panenka scoring that penalty (for the then Czechoslovakia in the Euro 1976 final), (Rabah) Madjer’s trick (cheeky back-heeled goal in Porto’s 1987 European Cup final win over Bayern Munich) and Higuita’s save why don’t you make more of it?” he said.

“Higuita almost got fined for this, if it was entertainment he would have had a TV Reality programme ‘The Scorpion Show’ but in football no.”

To that end Schwobthaler — who has spent a seven-figure sum setting up Golbang — is working towards the Millennials World Battles which he hopes will take place at one of three venues in France in late May or early June next year.

He hopes to attract 50 teams, who can register for the Battle once they have accrued 50 points, and is targeting students as there is a rich source within France of around 150 business schools.

“When we posed the question how do we do the world thing we came up with the business schools as the balance between boys and girls is pretty good and more international too,” he said.

“We want to encourage French students abroad for instance to create teams such as the Singapore Killers and vice versa Mexican students in France say have the Tijuana Terrors.”

It is not the most talented teams that will earn a place at the finals as even mediocre sides pick up points for a defeat (three) and a draw (four) with five for a win.

At the finals, financed through sponsors and a registration fee, prizes will be awarded for the best turned out team, the coolest and sexiest players and so on with the winning team being that who garners the most points over the weekend.

For the Frenchman “entertainment is far better than the performance at bringing people in”.

“I understand football is focused on performance and we want to win attitude of the athletes but for Mr and Mrs average and the younger generation the no pain no gain line doesn’t work.”