There are tens of thousands of football clubs in the world, each with their own story, their own history and their own vision. With too many clubs to count, each is in a way unique as they each have their own stories that will be remembered for years to come and have become a part of the clubs history. One of the clubs with a unique story that caught our attention is the story of a small, yet interesting club from Sweden, Dalkurd FF.
Dalkurd FF – The Beginning
Dalkurd Fotbollsförening or more commonly known as simply Dalkurd FF is a Swedish football club based in Uppsala, the capital of Uppsala Country and the 4th largest city in Sweden. While the club on its own may not seem to be any different from other generic clubs, Dalkurd FF is unique in a way that it was established by Kurdish diaspora back in September of 2004 in Borlänge area. At first, it started as a social project for the younger population of Borlänge, who would get a chance to join several activities offered by the project, one of which was also football. Soon the project gained a lot of attention and it did not take long before IK Brage, the football club from Borlänge decided to help out the project financially. The financial help from IK Brage helped Dalkurd establish a football squad, which at first consisted of players whose average age was only 17.
Despite the fact that it all started as a project for youth, the chairman Ramazan Kizil had a much bigger vision. He had high expectations for the newly established club and he believed that one day Dalkurd FF will get to play in one of the top tiers of the Swedish football league. His high expectations were justified, considering that Dalkurd won every division they participated in. Their dominance started in 2005 and stretched up until 2009 when the team won in the 2nd division, which got them promoted into 1st division. As a team that enjoyed a high level of success, Dalkurd FF understandably caught a lot of attention in Sweden, as well as abroad. Being a club that was established by Kurdish diaspora, Dalkurd FF also became the pride of Kurds from all over the world, representing the oppressed people and help spread awareness of the issue of oppression.
After reaching Division 1, Dalkurd FF then proceeded to compete in Division 1, where they finished 6th in 2010, 4th in 2011, 8th in 2012 and even got extremely close to winning it in 2013, however, the team had to settle with 2nd place finish after losing the promotion finals. Failing to advance into Supertattan, Dalkurd FF yet again pushed for promotion and while they failed to achieve it in 2014 (3rd place), Dalkurd FF finally won Division 1 in 2015 and got themselves into Tier 2 of Swedish football. A club that started off as a project for youth now found themselves in the 2nd tier of Swedish football, where they remained only two years. In 2017 Dalkurd FF won the league and reached the summit of Swedish football when they joined Allsvenskan.
Promotion in Allsvenskan
Their first ever appearance in the Allsvenskan did not go as planned, as it soon became clear that Dalkurd FF will not be able to compete against the top dogs of Sweden. Only a few rounds into the season, Dalkurd FF found themselves in the relegation zone, where they remained from 7th up until the 30th round of Allsvenskan, which sadly resulted in relegation and departure back to Superettan. While the final result of 2018 season surely wasn’t what Dalkurd FF expected to see, the team still performed well. They finished the season with a 6-6-18 record and 24 points, which was only 6 short of finishing outside the relegation zone and only 2 short of finishing 14th, which would get them another chance to prove themselves in the relegation play-offs.
Still, their loyal fan base, also known as “Roj Fans” can be happy with the exceptional success story Dalkurd FF has behind them. Starting off as a youth project, the team needed only 13 years to reach the top of Swedish football, proving everything is possible. Their ambitions came true, and their success will surely be remembered for years to come. Still, there is one more event that occurred to the team, which made their history even richer and possibly a story that caught even more attention than their climb to Allsvenskan.
Airplane Crash Avoided
For that story, we have to travel back to 2015, when Dalkurd FF travelled to Spain for a week’s training. Once the time came for Dalkurd FF to leave Spain and return to cold Sweden, the team had a choice of four-morning flights. The primary plan was for the team to board a plane which would take them from Barcelona to Düsseldorf and then to Sweden, but they decided to rather board other planes, which would shorten their flight back home. The simple and impulsive decision, in the end, proved to be the best decision the team of 29 members made. The plane they first planned to board crashed in French Alps on March 24th, 2015, leaving no survivors.
In an interview, the teams’ director stated:
“We were actually all due to fly on that plane. The flight was cheaper, and all 29 members of the squad could have flown together, he said. Given the 10-hour wait they faced in Düsseldorf for their onward connection, they chose instead to split up and fly via Munich and Zurich.”
“There were four planes that left around the same time and that flew north over the Alps. Four planes and we had players on three of them. You can say we were very, very lucky,” he said.
While a sad story in general, it surely will be a story for remember for 29 Dalkurd FF members that narrowly escaped a fatal crash.
Dalkurd FF wrote a remarkable story of a team that not only represents all the 40 million oppressed Kurds around the world but also managed to go for a small project that provided activities for young people to a club that appeared in the first tier of Swedish football. And to top it all off, the team was involved in an incredibly lucky turn of events for them, which will provide all the 29 players that visited Spain in 2015 with a story to tell their grandchildren.