Extreme Sports Gone Too Far: The Ridiculous Concept That Is Ice Football

Out of all the daft sports I have witnessed over the course of my lifetime, Ice Football, I must confess sits pretty high up on said list. With sporadic appearances on German screens in recent years, I look at the chances that Ice Football will ever actually become a professional sport and what is it all about – despite it being fairly self-explanatory.

Small Beginnings

Searching through the deep realms of YouTube you can discover videos on the German EisFussball Pokal -or cup – from either 2009 or 2015 tournaments played between representatives and fans of regular German football sides.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Hamburg and a host of others featured in these short domestic cup type competitions just before the pros competed in their domestic cup final in May, well known as the end of European football seasons.

The concept originated from a man known as Stefan Raab, a TV personality in Germany, recently retired, who created a challenge for contestants on his game show, entitled Eisfussball. The game would see contestants wearing bowling shoes – you know the big blue and red ones you’d wear at your mates bowling birthday party – playing on an ice hockey rink, with ice hockey goals and the simple rule to score more than your opponents.

Well the creator, Raab, enjoyed the concept so much he thought he’d make it into a fully-fledged competition for those who may have been getting a little bored of watching regular football.

Despite it boiling down to some men looking incredibly unsteady, falling down in their bowling shoes constantly, taking many an awful shot towards goal and penguin shuffling all over the rink, the short-lived sport actually attracted quite the audiences in Germany during its 2009 and 2015 competitions. With almost four million viewers between the two events over the six-year period in which it appeared. Considering Germany’s largest club side Bayern Munich averaged one million viewers for the average match last season that’s not bad reading on the viewing numbers.

Could it be?

But despite a comical-focused birth onto the world stage, would a sport like ice football ever gain a serious enough following to warrant becoming a professionally run sport? I personally couldn’t see it happen as it is just too ridiculous, slow paced and quite frankly stupid to watch. But hey, people do enjoy stupid things these days, maybe keeping its place as game show comic relief is the best place for it. Something serious I just cannot see happening.

But the concept has certainly inspired adaptations over Europe with neighbouring Netherlands taking the idea, adding bubble balls (like zorbing balls) and making kids fling each other around ice rinks. I guess that works for keeping your kids occupied for a couple of hours while you grasp at some much-needed rest.

Ice football could be a step too far in the serious world of sport but if there is an audience you could never say no. Many a crazy sport has come and gone and maybe ice football could be the next great ludicrous sport to graze the new generation of muck-abouters. If cheese rolling happens in the UK, then Germans can certainly play football on an ice rink.

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