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Table football playing is not only a hobby but also a sport with its International Federation (International Table Soccer Federation) and its local associations which enact the official rules of the game and organize competitions.

Rules mays vary from country to country and whether the game is played in leisure, in an official championship or in “cafés”. The following table lists the main rules used in and out of competition following the standards of the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF):

 THE SERVE

Usual rule: A coin flip shall precede the start of the match. The serve (done by the team who won the coin flip or the one that has been last scored upon) shall begin with the ball in movement at the middle player figure of the five-man rod.
Championship rule: The serve shall begin with the ball stopped.

 BALL OFF THE TABLE / DEAD BALL
Usual rule/ Championship rule: If the ball leaves the playing area, the ball shall be declared off the table. The ball will be put back into play at the opponent’s two-man rod.
A ball shall be declared a dead ball when it has completely stopped its motion and is not within reach of any player figure.
If the ball is declared dead anywhere between the five-man rods, it shall be put back into play at the five-man rod by the team who originally served the ball.
If the ball is declared dead between the goal and five-man rods, it shall be put back into play at the two-man rod nearest the spot of the dead ball.

  THE "READY"
Usual rule/ Championship rule: Before putting the ball into play the player in possession of the ball shall ask the opponent if he is "ready" and wait for the direct opponent to respond "ready".  

  WINGER SHOT
Usual rule: The right wingers shots are prohibited when the defenders are at pushed to the left side.
Championship rule: Wingers shots are allowed.

 SPINNING THE RODS
Usual rule/ Championship rule: Spinning of the rods is illegal. Spinning is defined as the rotation of any soccer figure more than 360 degrees before or more than 360° after striking the ball..

 GOAL RETURNING TO PLAYING SURFACE
Usual rule: A ball which enters the goal but returns to the playing surface does not count as a goal but allow the striking team to take a point off the opposite team.
Championship rule: A ball which enters the goal but returns to the playing surface and/or leaves the table still counts as a goal.

 CHANGE OF POSITION
Usual rule/ Championship rule: In a 4 players game, players can switch position when a point is scored or when a team requests a time out

 THE FIVE-MAN RODS GOALS
Usual rule: A goals scored from the five-man rods do not count as a point but the following goal scored by any team will count for 2 points.
Championship rule :: The five-man rods goal are valid.

 PASSING FROM "THE FIVE-MAN ROD"
Usual rule: A ball passed forward from the five-man rod and deviated backward by the opposite five-man rod preventing the three-man to control it should be given back to the five-man rod which originally advanced the ball.
Championship rule : The opposite five-man rod is allowed to deviate the ball backward.

 FORBIDDEN
Usual rule/ Championship rule:
-- Reaching into the play area while the ball is in play is ilelgal
- Jarring, sliding, or lifting of the table while the ball is in play is illegal
- Bending the rods is illegal.
- Banging the five-man rod or any rod prior to, during, or after a shot is considered a distraction and is illegal
- Any movement or sound made away from or behind the rod where the ball is in play may be judged as a distraction and is illegal.

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