Video: The beautiful game, as played by machines

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It was a most unusual football tournament – no diving, shirt-pulling or biting in sight.

Then again, it was a match between ROBOTS rather than multi-million pound salaried players.

Andrew Amos, from Riveting Robots, with some of the Lego Football Units, controlled via a laptop. PIC: James Hardisty

Andrew Amos, from Riveting Robots, with some of the Lego Football Units, controlled via a laptop. PIC: James Hardisty

Twenty enthusiastic youngsters turned out for the chance to take control of the Lego-bots and guide them and a bright orange ball in the direction of the goalposts.

They took turns to play three-minute matches in teams of two, frantically tapping away on the laptop keyboards while the excited spectators cheered them on.

And it was quite possibly the loudest activity ever to take place in Moor Allerton Library, north Leeds, with the players’ delighted goal celebrations rebounding around the usually hushed room.

Andrew Amos, from Riveting Robots – who organised the session – said robot-themed activities were great learning opportunities for children.

“The hardest thing is to keep them calm enough because the energy levels and sound can go through the roof.”

He added: “It’s about trying to get kids engaged with technology.

“Robots have everything – they have hardware and software and you can learn many things from them.

“It’s real-world – you see their excitement when the robot moves.”

Marco Magagnin, aged eight, said: “The best bit was running with the ball and using the remote controls to power the robots.”

But despite his prowess at computer games and his love of football, he said manipulating machines to play the beautiful game was harder than it looked.

“You don’t know which robot is yours, where it’s going to go or how to get the ball.

“People are ramming you all the time and trying to get the ball in the goal, so it’s really, really hard.”

Ten-year-old Imogen Clarke, of Moor Allerton, said: “I like how it gets really intense when you nearly score a goal, with everyone cheering for you.”

The unusual activity was part of the Breeze Arts Festival which ends this Sunday. The BreezeReads Book Festival features 12 events, which are taking place in libraries across the city.

Deborah Moody, Leeds City Council’s young people’s librarian, said: “We want to show people that we have lots of different things going on in our libraries, some of which may be slightly surprising.”

She added: “We are trying to get families and children into libraries enjoying things together and this gives us the opportunity to introduce people to the books at the same time and foster a love of reading as well.”