Vertical football – will this be a growing trend?

I don’t think so, but it would certainly raise more than a few eyebrows if it did become a mainstream sport – imagine how it would enliven a city centre!

In Japan it nearly brought traffic to a halt, and certainly succeeded with pedestrians. If the day had promised to be dull before, it improved  dramatically when these two football players started the entertainment, courtesy of Adidas.

More than 10 storeys above the ground, this two-man game of football defied gravity.

Ok, so it’s only one player a side, but it’s a pretty spectacular stunt! The players and ball were attached to bungy style rubber cords and performed their 2004 Adidas sponsored stunt for 20 minutes at a time.

The players, both experienced rock climbers, had a head for heights which helped. One of the pair, 43-year-old Hisanori Kizu, cleans windows on Osaka skyscrapers. “I’ve bungy-jumped a few times so this doesn’t bother me at all and it’s actually a lot of fun,” he said.

And it certainly looks like it…

The ad won two Gold Lions at Cannes and picked up a Grand Clio and wowed spectators on the street and on the screen alike.

The players hoped to take the vertical game to another country where football was still a relative newcomer – the United States, but Poland got in there first with a Carlsberg backed stunt – not so well filmed as the Japan/Adidas one, but just as much fun.

Vertical football did later became vertical soccer when they played it on a poster in Times Square New York… I’m afraid I cannot find any footage of it, but if anyone has it or knows where to find it I’d love to be told. Thanks.

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