ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – “I can say this confidently: We will avoid relegation this season and remain in Sweden’s top division,” the Chairman of Dalkurd FF, Ramazan Kizil, told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday.
The club has bull-dozed its way up the ranks of Swedish football since their 2005 introduction in Tier Seven, winning five promotions in their first five seasons.
Now in the first level of Swedish football, Dalkurd faces the prospect of UEFA Champions League or Europa League qualification—an opportunity awarded to the top three teams in the Allsvenskan league.
However, after 20 games (3-4-13), the club currently sits in 15th place on 13 points. Dalkurd’s poor form has seen them drop 13 points from winning positions this season.
“We are aware of our situation. We realize what situation we are in, and we are not afraid of this situation,” Kizil told Kurdistan 24. “This year, we are playing in the highest division, and playing in the top division is not easy.”
The club’ chairman admitted Dalkurd had high expectations at the beginning of the season, but due to some internal issues, the club’s morale dropped and led to the poor results.
Based in the Swedish city of Borlänge, Dalkurd was founded on Sept. 26, 2004, by nine Kurdish immigrants as a social project. The club is now partly owned (49 percent) by Kawa Junad Rekani, a business owner from the Kurdistan Region.
According to Kizil, the Dalkurd board did not see eye-to-eye with Rekani on matters such as player transfers and board member delegations. On April 24, Rekani stepped away from the club and left internal matters to the Dalkurd board, although he did not leave his role as part-owner.
“Believe it or not, when our funds were low we enjoyed more success, but since our financial situation improved, we faced many difficulties,” Kizil told Kurdistan 24.
Since Kawa’s departure, the club has experienced financial difficulties, he said, and the Swedish Football Association only provides funding once a year, worth 1.1 million euros.
“We were forced to get rid of some of our players to ease our financial burden and avoid the club from going into administration,” Kizil explained. “We sold four of our players and sent five players out on loan to lighten the burden of their salaries. In return, we brought in five to six new players at a lower price.”
“A player’s price tag does not necessarily determine his ability. With these less expensive players that we brought in, our club’s morale, togetherness, and old spirit have been reinvigorated,” he added.
“I want to reiterate that we are not afraid of the challenges ahead and we promise to bring joy to our fans, and even those who are not football fans but support us because of the Kurdistan flag on our crest.”
Dalkurd’s next league match is against mid-table side Kalmar FF on Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. Erbil time.