Football teams out of context

Many sports organizations which in Italy and Europe are generally known in the form of football teams and whose main activities are in football, are in reality sports clubs present in different disciplines. More than one might therefore be surprised to see Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona face each other in the Champions League, but in handball, a tournament in which Barcelona holds the record for victories: eleven from 1991 to today.

Melvyn Richardson of Barcelona Handbol (Frederic Scheidemann/Getty Images)

The Paris Saint-Germain handball team is the best known after the football team within the sports center of the same name, which however also includes a recently relaunched important judo school attended, among others, by French judoka Teddy Riner three times Olympic champion and eleven times world champion.

Teddy Riner in a PSG kimono (Maxppp/Clementz Michel)

The Barcelona sports center is one of the best known. Apart from handball and excluding football, which needs little introduction, its basketball team has long been one of the strongest and most important in Europe, as has that of Real Madrid, which, like its football team, is the most successful in Europe with eleven titles, the last of which was won in the Euroleague last season.

Basketball is usually the sport in which the most famous “twins” of football teams are found, such as Bayern Munich in Germany, Olympiakos and Panathinaikos in Greece, Red Star and Partizan Belgrade in Serbia , Zenit Saint Petersburg and CSKA Moscow in Russia.

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks against Real Madrid, his latest European team (Borja B. Hojas/Getty Images)

The tradition of sports clubs is particularly rooted in Eastern European countries, where it spread from the beginning of the 20th century as a spread of the Soviet and Yugoslav state apparatus. The proof remains in the names with which we still call certain teams which, in countries under Soviet influence, were controlled by state teams: CSKA was in fact called the teams of the armed forces, Lokomotiv those of the railways. iron and Dinamo those of the police forces. , moreover the most widespread, from the Caucasus to the old towns of East Germany.

Red Star against Bayern Munich in this year’s Euroleague (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

In the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the largest sports clubs are still state-owned. The largest and most diverse is that of Red Star, which has, in addition to football, more than thirty teams in as many sporting disciplines, from rugby to chess. The other major Serbian sports center is also located in Belgrade. This is Partizan, founded after the war by the Yugoslav army and named in honor of the partisan groups that fought against Nazi fascism.

In Italy, sports clubs are mostly local and do not systematically achieve high levels with consistent results. Among the twenty football teams in Serie A, however, there is one sports club and it is the one of which Lazio is a member, the oldest and largest in Italy. The Société Sportive du Latium was founded in 1900 and has since expanded to include 45 competitive sections and 17 associated outdoor activities. Among its members during the last century, the sports club also included Fausto Coppi and Carlo Pedersoli, who before becoming Bud Spencer was the Italian swimming and water polo champion.

The rugby team of the Lazio sports club (Andrea D’Errico/LaPresse)

Sometimes the one that the Benetton family formed in their town, Treviso, is also considered a sports club, with teams that, between the 1990s and 2000s, won national titles in basketball, volleyball and rugby, men’s and women’s. But more than a sports club, it was the union under the same project – called “Verde Sport” – of three distinct professional clubs, of which only one now remains, that of rugby.

A similar reality is that of Red Bull, which we have known in recent years for its football teams in New York, Brazil, Leipzig and Salzburg. The latter is the Austrian city where Red Bull is based and where, in addition to football, the group also has an ice hockey team. It also has another in Germany, in Munich, which, like that of Salzburg, is among the strongest in its championship.

Players of Eishockeyclub Red Bull Salzburg (AP Photo)

Real sports clubs are not only widespread in Europe, but also in South America. For example, these days Boca Juniors, one of the two big soccer teams in Buenos Aires, will elect its new president with some delay, since it is a non-profit sports club that cannot have a single majority owner: its ownership is shared among 315,879 members, approximately 100,000 of whom have the right to choose the president every four years through elections. One of the strengths of the current presidency, led by former footballer Juan Roman Riquelme, lies precisely in the results achieved by all the club teams, including the basketball and volleyball teams, which play Service the gym a stone’s throw from the most famous Bombonera.

Boca Juniors basketball at the Bombonerita (Boca Basquet)

Source: ilpost


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