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A sport club in Belo Horizonte.

A sports club, athletics club or sports association is an eclectic institution oriented to multiple sports, which fields many teams and in several sports, 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 a single sports department. In order to differentiate a single-sport institution from a multi-sport one, the term multi-sport club is used. The term athletics club is usually unambiguous.

Examples abound of sports clubs that are in effect one sports team. Each team from the NBA (basketball), NFL (American football) or MLS (association football) North American sports leagues, can be called sports clubs, but in practice, they focus solely on a single sport. On the other hand, North American varsity teams are generally organized into a structure forming a true multi-sport club belonging to an educational institution.

Football provides an interesting contrast between cultures and nations. There are many football clubs named "FC" (Football Club) or "CF" (Clube de Futebol in Portuguese and Club de Fútbol in Spanish). Generally, British football clubs field only football teams; examples include Liverpool, Newcastle United, Rangers and Celtic (although its full name was until 1994 The Celtic Football and Athletic Company Ltd.). Their counterparts in Latin countries tend to be full multi-sport clubs; examples include Porto, Boavista and Belenenses in Portugal, Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Vasco da Gama and Flamengo in Brazil, and Boca Juniors and River Plate in Argentina.

Sports clubs are especially common in the former Soviet Union, thanks to the Voluntary Sports Societies, which were multi-sport clubs; examples include CSKA Moscow and Dynamo Moscow.

Contents

Organization

Generally, any sports club is characterized by having professional and amateur sports departments in various sports disciplines like football (soccer), basketball, futsal, cricket, volleyball, handball, rink hockey, water polo, rugby, track and field athletics, boxing, baseball, tennis, 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.

Multi-sport clubs worldwide

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

Examples of this can be found throughout the world:

In the United Kingdom, almost all major sports organizations are dedicated to a single sport, however, rare examples of notable multisport clubs are found, like Fisher Athletic, Everton F.C., or Catford Wanderers. In addition, like in several other countries, many universities and colleges develop a wide range of student sport activities including at a professional or semi-professional level. Fulham F.C. once ran a professional rugby league team and rowing club, which other football clubs have emulated since. Many football clubs originate from cricket teams. Today, most major cities will have separate clubs for each sport (e.g. Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs and Lancashire County Cricket Club are based in Manchester and Norwich is home to Norwich City F.C. and several athletic clubs)

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

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Major active sports clubs

Multi-sport clubs with over a hundred thousand registered associates or at least 4 million supporters or sympathizers audited and verified by independent auditors, and several trophies won in multiple sports include:

Associazione Sportiva Roma (Italy)

AS Roma (Italian: Associazione Sportiva Roma), or Rome Sports Association, is a sports club based in Rome, Italy. It is more famous for the football club.

Cardiff Athletic Club (Wales)

Cardiff Athletic Club from Cardiff, Wales. It is the owner of the world famous Cardiff Arms Park rugby ground,[1][2][3] however, it is also a major shareholder of Cardiff Rugby Football Club Plc and a large shareholder in Cardiff Blues.[3][4] Cardiff Athletic Club has five sports sections; the rugby section (Cardiff RFC), the cricket section (Cardiff Cricket Club), the (field) hockey section (Cardiff Hockey Club), bowls section (Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club) and the tennis section (Lisvane Tennis Club). The Athletic Club is one of the few multi-sport clubs in the United Kingdom.

CSKA Moscow (Russia)

CSKA Moscow, Russia, is a major sports club that includes in itself the most titled volleyball team ever, VC CSKA Moscow, the most titled ice hockey club ever, HC CSKA Moscow, and one of the most successful basketball clubs in Europe, PBC CSKA Moscow. It also includes in itself the football club PFC CSKA Moscow, which is one of the most successful in Russia. The CSKA Moscow sports club was also the place of practice for many Olympic champions for both USSR and Russia.

The club is active in more than 40 sports,[5] and produced 463 Olympic champions for the Soviet Union and Russia, 11000 champions in local Soviet and Russian championships, and 2629 golden medalists in European and world championships.[6]

Dynamo Moscow (Russia)

Dynamo Moscow, Russia, is a major sports club which includes in itself such teams as FC Dynamo Moscow, which is one of the most successful football teams in Russia, HC Dynamo Moscow, which is one of the strongest European ice hockey clubs, Dynamo Moscow Bandy Club, which is one of the most successful bandy clubs in the world, MBC Dynamo Moscow, which is one of the biggest basketball clubs in Russia, and a futsal team, MFK Dinamo Moskva, that won the 2007/08 UEFA Futsal Cup.

The club produced many Olympic champions for the Soviet Union and Russia, and many local champions.[7]

Futbol Club Barcelona (Spain)

FC Barcelona from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, is one among many well-known examples of a major multi-sport club (club poliesportiu in Catalan). 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 subsidized by the football section and wear the same colors. These include Regal FC Barcelona, FC Barcelona-Cifec and FC Barcelona Sorli Discau. The club also includes a number of prominent amateur sports teams that compete in rugby union, women's basketball, women's football and wheelchair basketball. These include FCB Rugby, UB-Barça, and FC Barcelona-Institut Guttman. Other amateur teams represent the club in ice hockey, five-a-side football, athletics, baseball, cycling, field hockey, figure skating and volleyball. With dozens of trophies in several sports and over 150,000 associates. FC Barcelona has millions of supporters worldwide and has come to be something of a symbol for many Catalan people.

Futebol Clube do Porto (Portugal)

FC Porto from Porto, Portugal, fields teams in football, basketball, rink hockey, handball, swimming, and athletics. In total, FC Porto is the Portuguese club with most international titles. In total, in all these sports including, the 1987 and 2004 Intercontinental Cup, the 1987 and 2004 European Champions Cup, the 1987 European Supercup and the 2003 UEFA Cup in football; rink hockey - European Cup in 1986 and 1990, CERS Cup in 1994 and 1996, Cup Winners Cup in 1982 and 1983, and European Supercup in 1987. In others sports is one of best clubs in the Portugal. With dozens of trophies in several sports and over 110,000 associates and is one of the most popular Portuguese Clubs with 3 million ?! supporters in Portugal and an estimated 28% ?! among the total population.

Sportsko Društvo Partizan (Serbia)

Sports society Partizan from Belgrade, Serbia was founded on October 4, 1945 as sport club of Yugoslav People's Army. First clubs that were formed under the name of Partizan were football and athletic clubs. In 1946, basketball, volleyball, chess, tennis, swimming and skiing clubs were formed and in 1947 ice hockey, boxing, table tennis and road bicycle racing clubs.Among the last clubs that were formed under the name of Partizan were judo, wrestling, water polo, handball, sport shooting, rowing, bowling and weightlifting clubs.

In 1950, club became sport society in which civilians were allowed to become members and athletes. In 1960, society adopted its current name.

Today, SD Partizan, with 25 clubs, is the largest and the most successful sport society in Serbia.

In season 2003/04 football, basketball, handball and waterpolo clubs of Partizan played in European Champions League in all of these sports.

Olympiacos Club of Fans of Piraeus (Greece)

Olympiacos CFP from Piraeus, Greece, is a large multisport club in Europe and the most popular club in Greece. It develops activities in 17 different competitive departments. The club boasts European titles in basketball (Olympiacos B.C.), volleyball (Olympiacos S.C.) and water polo (Olympiacos Water Polo Club). Olympiacos have more honors than any other Greek team in men's football and volleyball, and have achieved the treble (winning three major titles in one year) in two different sports, basketball and waterpolo.

Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos (Greece)

Panathinaikos from Athens, Greece, is a major multisports club with many departments (24 different competitive departments) and a large number of national and international titles won by them. Furthermore, it is also the largest multisport club in Greece and also on an international scale, as measured by the number of different sports departments it maintains. The club is mostly known for its three professional teams football (Panathinaikos FC), basketball (Panathinaikos BC) and volleyball (Panathinaikos VC), where they compete at the highest level in Europe, but has also an enormous number of distinctions from its other amateur departments (Women Volleyball, Women Basketball, Athletics, Swimming, Cycling, Boxing, Diving, Archery, Shooting, Fencing, Table Tennis, Water Polo etc). Panathinaikos men's basketball department is the most successful in Greece and one of the most successful in Europe counting 30 Greek National Championships, 12 Greek Cups, 5 European Championships (Euroleague) (from 1996-2009), 1 Intercontinental Cup (also known as the FIBA International Championship), and 2 Triple Crowns making them the most powerful European club of the last 15 years.

Società Sportiva Lazio (Italy)

S.S. Lazio (Italian: Società Sportiva Lazio), or Lazio Sports Association, is a sports club based in Rome, Italy and it has athletes competing in 37 disciplines ranging from cricket to basketball to parachute jumping[8]. Its men's football team however is by far its most famous due to its successes in European club football during the 1990's. They have a well-known inter-city rivalry with another capital football club AS Roma, one of European football's most heated capital derbies.

Spartak Moscow (Russia)

Spartak Moscow is one of the most successful sports clubs in Russia. It's Spartak Tennis Club is one of the top tennis clubs in the world. FC Spartak Moscow won more local titles then any other football team in Russia. It's HC Spartak Moscow also won a few local titles.

Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Portugal)

SL Benfica from Lisbon, Portugal, fields teams in football, basketball, rink hockey, futsal, volleyball, handball, rugby, cycling, and athletics, among other sports. In total, Benfica have won many 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. SL Benfica has the biggest fan base and the largest number of registered associates among Portuguese clubs, having also the largest number of supporters outside of Portugal for a Portuguese club, with a total of 12 million Benfica's supporters worldwide.[9] Almost every municipality of Portugal has its own Casa do Benfica (House of Benfica), which can also be found in many cities and towns of countries worldwide.[10] It is also the biggest club in the world in number of associates (registered paying supporters), with a number of 160,398 (as of November 2006), a fact which was attested by the Guinness Book of Records on 10 November 2006.[11][12][13]

Disbanded sports clubs

Sportvereinigung Dynamo (Germany)

Sportvereinigung Dynamo was an East German sports association financed by the country's police (Deutsche Volkspolizei) and security forces. The president SV Dynamo from its inception in 1953 until the Beginning of the "Wende" 1989 was Erich Mielke, head of the country's secret police, known as the Stasi. The association offices were located next to the Hohenschönhausen which was the headquarters of the Stasi.

Dynamo-Sportforum Berlin was at one time the largest sports complex in Europe. SV Dynamo enjoyed considerable success in international competition. At its height the association had a membership of ~280,000 which included over 110,000 children.[14]

See also

References


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