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An eleven-a-side team game played on ice-covered ground, with a ball rather than a puck. It originated in England at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, and an English-based team hosted a club from Holland in the winter of 1890–91. A National Bandy Association was founded in 1891, and published the first set of rules. But lack of regular ice constrained the growth of the game in Britain, and indoor ice hockey developed as an alternative. Nevertheless, bandy did flourish in several countries where snow could be relied on: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Russia/the USSR, Mongolia. The International Federation of Bandy was established in 1955, by Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the USSR. This was renamed the Federation of International Bandy (FIB) in 2001, when bandy gained preliminary recognition as a sport by the International Olympic Committee. Bandy gained full acceptance as a recognized sport by the IOC in 2004, from which point the federation lobbied for inclusion in the programme of the winter Olympics. The FIB increased its membership in the early 2000s. World championships are organized every two years, at which at least four nations must compete. No nation other than the founding members of the FIB had won the championship in the first half-century of the federation's existence. In 2008, the United Arab Emirates became the federation's twenty-seventh member, indicating—along with fellow snowless member Australia—that bandy's development need not be confined to the outdoors and natural weather conditions, and showing the continuing attraction of sport as a means of asserting national prestige.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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