Calendar spring has already arrived, but many matches are still held in the snow. Playing in a snowstorm is commonplace for some clubs. One of them is a unique “Santa Claus” from Finland.
The club is located in Rovaniemi, the business center of Lapland. As you know, there is the residence of Santa Claus in the same place. Legend has it that in 1993 the leaders of the new team came to him with the question: “Can I name the club after you?” Grandpa agreed.
“Santa-Klaus” performs in the four thousand-seat arena and shares this with the RoPS team, which has won several medals in the top division of the Finnish championship. “Santa Claus” even has a chief rival – “Kolari” from West Lapland.
You should not perceive the team only as an advertising and entertainment project for tourists. The club has spent most of its life in Finland’s strongest third division, only missing one win once to break into the second division.
Several students of “Santa Claus” were even called up to the Finnish national team. Previously, the country’s leading clubs often loaned young players from Lapland to practice matches. Sometimes the Finnish club manages to hire players from the English West Brom system as part of a partnership agreement.
Rovaniemi is just a few kilometers from the Arctic Circle line, so “Santa Claus” spent most of his home gatherings in a snowy field in the cold. During the severe winter, the team moves into the arena.
The club’s connection to Santa Claus is not limited to a single name. Colors are red and white. And Santa’s emoticons often appear in different sets of uniforms. A year ago, he flaunted in his famous “Ho Ho Ho” away jersey.
“The real Santa is cheering for us and is really worried if we lose. He is distracted from work at times and comes to our home games. He also helps us attend charity events,” said the head of Santa’s press service. . .
The club has an official motto: “Never stop believing”. Fans dreamed of the best flight, but the club has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. It got to the point that “Santa Claus” was closed due to financial problems.
The team was revived in 2021. Players had to be taken on a new basis and entered the semi-amateur sixth Finnish league. Now the club has been promoted to the fifth division, but the amateurs, which is his main job, continue to play for him.
“Santa Claus” features a policeman, a carpenter, and a photographer. But the most interesting thing is that among the players several people work for Santa at once. Several football players help him receive and answer letters from children.
Several world champions in snow football play for the club at the same time. The guys were on the team that won the last world championship, which was held only in Finland.
“After the liquidation, we realized that being a big and successful club was not the most important thing for us. We now see ourselves as a club that exists for fun. Our main goal of football is for local youth to train and play. Enjoy the game,” explained the team press officer.
So in the last few years the club has been working more on marketing than the football component. The team has signed a sponsorship deal with a company from China, and attending the Santa match is already a must for tourists visiting Lapland. It has even reached the point where Alessandro Del Piero and Michael Owen are guests.
Probably, soon there will be more talk about the unusual Finnish club. If “Santa Claus” develops correctly, he will be able to bypass local clubs that have had great success on the football field in terms of media coverage.
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