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Sports club

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


A sports club, athletics club or sports association is an eclectic institution oriented to multiple sports, which fields many teams and have varied sports departments in several sports at a same time, working under the same umbrella organization. In a larger sense, it may also refer to any sports institution, even those that have only one sports team or single sports department. In order to differentiate a single sports institution from a multisports institution, the term multisports club is used. Generally, "athletics club" doesn't need that kind of disambiguation.

In general, "sports club" can also refer to any single sports team, like a football club where the only sport is football. For instance, many British soccer clubs exist like Chelsea FC, Manchester United or Celtic FC where the only fielded teams are soccer teams. Each team from the NBA (basketball), NFL (American football) or MLS (soccer) North American sports leagues, can be called also a sports club, but in practice, they focus solely on a single sport. On the other side, North American varsity teams are generally organized into a structure forming a true multisports club, which belongs to an educational institution.

There are also many clubs named "FC"/"CF" (English: Football Club/Portuguese:Clube de Futebol/Spanish:Club de Fútbol), among other designations, which are effectively full multisports clubs. For example, dozens of sports clubs with this designation are found in the Iberian Peninsula like the FC Porto, Boavista FC, or CF Belenenses in Portugal, and Real Madrid CF or FC Barcelona in Spain.


Generally, any sports club is characterized by having professional and amateur sports departments in various sports disciplines like football (soccer), basketball, futsal, volleyball, handball, rink hockey, water polo, rugby, athletics (track and field), boxing, baseball, tennis, sport rowing, gymnastics and other. An eclectic collection of competitive, recreational, and instructional athletic programs is available through club sports. The teams and athletes belonging to a sports club compete in several different leagues, championships and tournaments wearing the same club logotype, equipment colors and using the same club name, sharing also the same club fan base, supporters and facilities. Many sports clubs have an associate system where the affiliated supporters pay an annuity fee. In those cases, the supporter becomes eligible to attend the club's home matches and exhibitions across the entire season, and have the right to practice almost every kind of sport at the club's facilities. Registered associate member fees, attendance receipts, sponsoring contracts, team merchandising, TV rights, and athlete/player transfer fees, are usually the primary sources of sports club financing.

Multisports clubs in the World

In many regions of the world like Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent or Latin America, sports clubs comprising several sports departments or branches are very popular and have developed into some of the most powerful and representative sports institutions in those places.

Several examples of this can be found everywhere:

  • Argentina: Club Atlético River Plate, Club Atlético Boca Juniors, or Club Atlético Vélez Sársfield
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Zrinjski Mostar, or Borac Banja Luka
  • Brazil: Associaçăo Portuguesa de Desportos, Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, Flamengo, or Vasco da Gama
  • Bulgaria: CSKA Sofia, Levski Sofia, Lokomotiv Sofia, or Slavia Sofia
  • Croatia: HAŠK Mladost
  • Denmark: Aalborg Boldspilklub, Aarhus Gymnastik Forening, or Kjřbenhavns Boldklub
  • Egypt: Al-Zamalek
  • France : Stade Français Paris, Stade Toulousain, Racing Club de France, or Paris Université Club
  • Georgia: Dinamo Tbilisi
  • Germany: Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart
  • Greece: Panathinaikos, Olympiacos, AEK Athens, PAOK, Aris Thessaloniki, or Iraklis
  • Hungary: Ferencvárosi TC
  • Iceland: FH, ÍA, or KR Reykjavík
  • India: Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, Sporting Clube de Goa, or Dempo Sports Club
  • Israel: Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa, or Hapoel Tel Aviv
  • Italy: S.S. Lazio
  • Mexico: Club Deportivo Guadalajara
  • Monaco: AS Monaco
  • Montenegro: Budućnost Podgorica
  • Morocco: Raja Casablanca, or Wydad Casablanca
  • Netherlands: PSV Eindhoven, Omniworld
  • Paraguay: Club Olimpia
  • Poland: Śląsk Wrocław , Legia Warszawa , Wisła Kraków or Polonia Warszawa
  • Portugal: SL Benfica, FC Porto, Sporting CP, or Associaçăo Académica de Coimbra
  • Qatar: Al Sadd, or Qatar Sports Club
  • Romania: Steaua Bucharest, or U Cluj
  • Russia: CSKA Moscow, Spartak Moscow, or Dynamo Moscow
  • Saudi Arabia: Al-Ittihad
  • Serbia: Crvena Zvezda, or Partizan Belgrade
  • Spain: FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, or CD Numancia
  • Sweden: AIK, Djurgĺrdens IF, Örgryte IS, or IFK Göteborg
  • Switzerland: GC Zürich, Lausanne Sports
  • Tunisia: Espérance Sportive de Tunis, Étoile Sportive du Sahel, or Club Africain
  • Turkey: Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, or Beşiktaş J.K.
  • Uruguay: Club Nacional de Football

In the United States of America major institutions like The New York Athletic Club, Los Angeles Athletic Club or many university sports institutions like the California Golden Bears, Stanford Cardinal or Texas Longhorn Athletics are good examples of a sports club (see list of College Athletic Programs by US State).

Major sports clubs

Sports clubs with over a hundred thousand associates or at least 4 million supporters or sympathizers, and several trophies won in multiple sports include:

Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü (Turkey)

Fenerbahçe SK from Istanbul, Turkey, is a major sports club. Its most popular branch is the football team, but the club also competes in basketball, volleyball, rowing, boxing, sailing, athletics, swimming and table tennis. With an estimated 25 million supporters, Fenerbahçe is the most popular sports club in Turkey having also the highest average attendance in the Turkish football league matches. In 2006, Fenerbahçe merged its basketball operations with those of Ülkerspor, which in recent years had become the country's second-strongest club in that sport after Efes Pilsen.

Futbol Club Barcelona (Spain)

FC Barcelona from Barcelona, Spain, is one among many well known examples of a major multisports club (club polideportivo in Spanish). Although best known for its La Liga football team and its reserve football team FC Barcelona B, the club also incorporates other professional sports teams, having expanded into basketball, handball and roller hockey. The teams involved in these sports are subsidised by the football section and wear the same colours. These include Winterthur FCB and FC Barcelona-Cifec.

The club also includes a number of prominent amateur sports teams that compete at rugby union, women's basketball, women's football and wheelchair basketball. These include FCB Rugby, UB-Barça, FC Barcelona-Institut Guttman. Other amateur teams represent the club at ice hockey, five-a-side football, athletics, baseball, cycling, field hockey, figure skating and volleyball. With dozens of trophies in several sports and over 100,000 associates[citation needed], FC Barcelona is a powerhouse in world sports. Its estimated number of supporters or sympathizers across Spain (mainly in Catalonia) and the world surpasses 5 million[citation needed].

Olympiacos CFP (Greece)

Olympiacos CFP from Piraeus, Greece, is one of the most popular and largest multisport clubs in the world. It develops activities in 17 different competitive departments, including football, all of which are prominent and have won many distinctions around the world. The total number of athletes of Olympiacos is more than 3,800, the ranks of which include Olympic winners and World Champions. The club boasts European and international titles in football, basketball (Olympiacos BC), volleyball (Olympiakos SC), waterpolo and athletics. Fans point out as remarkable the fact that Olympiacos is the only Greek sports club to have done the Treble in two different sports.

Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos (Greece)

Panathinaikos from Athens, Greece, is a major multisports club with many departments (24 different sports) and a large number of national and international titles won by them (a total of 488 as of September 2006). The club is mostly known for its three professional teams (football, basketball and volleyball), where they compete at the highest level in Europe (Champions League, Euroleague and Top Teams Cup respectively), but it has a great number of distinctions from its other amateur departments. Although it does not have an associate system, it is one of the most popular Greek teams with an estimated 4 million supporters worldwide (3 million in Greece[1] and 1 million in Greek diaspora).

Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Portugal)

SL Benfica from Lisbon, Portugal, fields teams in football, basketball, rink hockey, futsal, volleyball, handball, water polo, rugby, cycling, and athletics. In total, Benfica have won many international titles in all these sports including the 1961 and 1962 European Champions Cup in football, rink hockey-CERS Cup in 1991, 3 Iberian Cups and 1 Torneio Ibérico in rugby, and 5 in the Athletics European Cup. With dozens of trophies in several sports and over 150,000 associates, SL Benfica is a powerhouse in world sports. Its estimated number of supporters or sympathizers across Portugal and the world is about 12 million [2].


  1. ^ See Popularity of Greek teams
  2. ^ Can Eusebio lead to a Portuguese pipeline? (ESPNsoccernet, May 17 2006)

See also

  • Football club
  • Team
  • Community organizations
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