Football Table / Foosball Bistrot Rules of the Game

Football Table / Foosball Rules

Here are the rules when playing table football in cafés. As this game is a leisure activity, the rules can be modified according to the "cordial" agreement between the players. It is therefore preferable to state the rules in force during the game before starting the game.

If you want the official ITSF (International Table Soccer Federation) football table / foosball game rules & regulations, please click here.

The commitment

Usually, the first ball is thrown against the table football wood and then goes to one side. The ball will only be able to pass through the halves and head towards a cage when it has touched both bars of the "touch-touch" halves. Another method may be to simply give the ball to the team paying for the game. Then the team that took the goal is the one that takes the ball, controlling the ball with the halves after it has passed (for example) under the opponent's halves.

The throw-in

When the ball comes to rest between the halves, a new engagement is made against the wood. Otherwise, the ball must be put back into one of the corners of the side where it has come to rest, so that the defender of that side can control it. If the ball goes out of the field of play, it must be put back in one of the corners on the side where it went out. If the ball goes out of play, it is usually returned to the side of the defenders who have cleared it. In some cases, when the ball is close enough to a player, there is a possibility to bend the bar in order to recover it. But this is wrong, some players don't accept it and it damages the table football unnecessarily. During a corner kick, if the defender can't control the ball, the attacker should hand it over gently (with a smile). This gesture of fair play can be adopted for the whole game, i.e. as soon as the defender loses the ball, despite everything, it can quickly become painful if the opponent misses all his controls.

The pissettes

The pissette is the player closest to the handle on the attacking bar. To make a pissette is to shoot on goal with this player and this is forbidden, judged too easy because there is a large "blind spot" (even if it is enough for the defender to adapt his guard). (See the techniques for animation.) Note: As table football is symmetrical, if the attacker shoots with the player furthest from his grip while the defender is on reverse guard, the same angle is created, unfortunately, nobody counts this shot as forbidden.

The restarts

In singles, it is customary to wait until the defender has his hands on the sticks before firing. It is therefore necessary to dispense with retakes. In doubles, there is no explicit rule forbidding them, but people don't really appreciate them and it doesn't show any real mastery (except in the case of a pass from the halves).

Rakes, breakages, braille, bags, barriers

A "rake", "break", "braille", "barrier" or "bag" occurs when a ball starting from the halves is deflected by the opposing halves preventing the attackers from controlling it. If the attacker touches it, there is no fault. When the ball comes from a back clearance the rake does not count, but some people talk about "bougeage"… Normally, backward passes from the halves are not allowed, even when the player at the halves controls it forward, as this is usually not voluntary, it is the player who does not have super control, so it counts as a rake. After all, why would he want to pass the ball to the back? Unless he doesn't do well in front? After two or three consecutive rakes (i.e. without the ball being controlled anywhere but aux), the ball is given directly to the attacker. When the game is paid for, the goal rake causes the team that made the rake to lose a point (the one that took the goal).

The halves

When trying to retrieve the ball at the halves, it is forbidden to hit the woods several times in a row by going back and forth at full speed. This is a very bad technique, it's naughty, and is proof of a lack of control of the halves... When making a back disengagement, it is forbidden to move your halves, you must position them before the defender disengages. Otherwise, there is "moving". Handle movements (describing a rotation according to the axis of the bar) are allowed. On the other hand, you can move your halves when: The defender throws back in a strip; the ball is countered by the attackers at the moment of the throw. The defender sends the ball back without controlling it. If someone is caught moving halves, there is usually a verbal warning ("you're heavy, stop moving your halves"). If the opponent repeats the offence, the ball can always be returned to the back or even given directly to the attackers... When the game is paying (with a limited number of balls), if a goal comes from the halves, two points are put in play, the next valid goal will count for two points. If there are still halves, 3 points are put in play, on the other hand, if there is a third goal from the halves, it is -2 points for the author of the goal. In the case of a non paying table football, the goal is counted as a dead ball. When there is a controlled engagement, the ball must go towards the opponent's goal. If by clumsiness a player who makes the engagement hits the ball towards his defenders, the engagement is repeated. This is called a "progression" or "progress".

The bowl

The bowl (ball in and ball out) is worth -1 whether it was made from the front or from the back. Some people count backwards -1, +1. In reality, the bowl is only worth -1 if the attacker wants it, if he prefers to add a point, like a normal goal, he has the full right to do so. On a match ball or "golden ball", some people say that you can't add a point and that you have to take the goal away from your opponent. This is good for suspense, but why would making a bowl disadvantage the team that made it? It seems that it is possible to make a bowl that comes out the other side (white/royal bowl or even a cauldron), everyone talks about it but nobody has ever seen it! It is necessary to have a monstrous chance... If by some miracle it happens to you, it's +5 -5, "Nice advantage isn't it ?", but unfortunately this will not happen to you twice in your life. On the other hand, it is possible to go fishing in the opposite goal when the ball goes up, this is much less prestigious and doesn't bring anything, except like a classic fishing or bowl.


Fishing is the action of shooting and then retrieving the ball from the cage before it goes down into the table football. Fishing is like making a bowl (but it's still easier), so you either take away a point from your opponent or you add one more. On the other hand, defensive fishing is forbidden. This can lead to endless matches, where the defender no longer tries to stop the shots with his players but to rush into his cage once the shot is fired. This is ridiculous, the real merit of fishing is on the one hand to score and on the other hand to be fast enough to get the ball. If a player inadvertently tries to fish and hits the ball while it is still in play, there is a hand to the mat, and it is -1 for the player who committed the foul. On the other hand it is forbidden, and it is quite dangerous, when you are a goalkeeper, to try to prevent the attacker from going fishing by plowing his hand with his player. This is dangerous on the one hand because it can be extremely painful, and on the other hand because if the person opposite takes it badly, it can very quickly come to blows (but not to go fishing this time). The fair-play gesture is to let go of your bars when you concede a goal and your opponent tries to fish.


Traditionally a lob counts +2 (i.e. when the ball passes over the goal bar. If there is a bowl after the lob, it's -2 points for the opponent. In defence, if the opponent tries to make a lob, you are not allowed to raise the attackers to counter the ball, only the goalkeeper is allowed to tip over to stop it. Some people don't accept this rule, but it makes for a good show...


There is cendar when the ball is lodged in the ashtray on the side of the cage. The cendar is beneficial when it is made on the side where you have to score. A cendar is generally worth +3 -3. In any case it is 100% luck.

The dead ball

A dead ball occurs when there are only two balls left to play and the score is tied. (Thus, the match will inevitably end in "golden ball"). The team that enters the dead ball gets the commitment, so that scoring does not put them at a disadvantage for the match ball by giving the ball to the opponent. If there is a peach or a bowl on the dead ball, it is cancelled and becomes a normal ball again.


Tackles, despite their usefulness, are ugly, unsporting and damage the table football. Some people accept them, in which case you should not raise your players too much during controls. It is also forbidden to bring in the last ball with the halves, it makes the player lose 2 points. During a 2 vs 1 game, some forbid the back boards for the two-man team. But this unnecessarily reduces the game.