Fans rally to help football club keep Kurdish name

The Swedish-Kurdish football club Dalkurd decided recently to change their name to Brati FC (Photo: Archive)
The Swedish-Kurdish football club Dalkurd decided recently to change their name to Brati FC (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - A decision by the board of the Swedish-Kurdish football club Dalkurd FF to remove the Kurdistan flag from its logo and change its name to Brati (“brotherhood” in Kurdish) last Thursday prompted widespread anger among its fans.

The newly appointed chairman Sarkat Junad in a statement on the Dalkurd FF website said that “we strive not only to invest in the sporting activities of our new club Brati FC, but also to contribute to our community, develop the economy and to reaffirm the ambitions and hopes of our most valuable asset, our supporters."

“Brati FC's new brand identity includes a new club emblem, colors and many planned internal reforms in several areas and a highly respected football academy to take care of the new generation of football players.”

Kawa Junad and his brother Sarkat Junad, telecom and media business entrepeneurs from Kurdistan, in February 2016 bought 49 percent of the club, the Guardian reported.

However, fans are now rallying to help the club to maintain its original name.

Former Dalkurd FF chairman and founder Ramazan Kizil wrote in a Facebook post that there has been an intense discussion about the proposed name change. He said some of the criticism stemmed from the club’s failure to make public information, and that fans were right to be angry.

“The situation is sensitive and we have been silent for a while, but we are waiting for the congress of Dalkurd to take place on the 23th of February and the decision will be taken by Dalkurd members,” he said.

Dalkurd FF said in a statement on Saturday they have been overwhelmed by fans’ response.

“During the last couple of days, we have witnessed a storm of reactions and love from Sweden and way beyond the borders in favour of our club name and our colors. We are positively surprised,” the club said on Twitter.

“The suggestion to change the name and the logo, which was published on our official channels on Thursday, was a matter of economic urgency,” the club added.

"We have only 150 paying members and this is not enough," they continued. For this reason the club said it decided to change its name to attract more sponsors.

In order to maintain the original name, Dalkurd FF called on its supporters to become paid members before the congress meets later this month.

“We invite you to join our forces and let us reach this goal and continue our common name and our club badge,” they said.

Dalkurd FF’s chairman Sarkat Junad, Dalkurd sponsor Bazar Snabbgross, and Dalkurd AB chairman Alan Dogan, will pay the fees of 2,250 newly registered members, according to the club.

On Sunday, the club announced they had managed to gain 581 new members in just 24 hours, of which 48 are gold members.

“A huge thank you for all your support! Let's continue like this and we will reach the goal of 6 000 new members easily! Continue to spread the word and continue to gather new members,” the club said on Twitter.

Also on Monday, Dalkurd FF on Twitter called on fans to become members.

Based in the Swedish city of Borlänge, Dalkurd was founded on Sept. 26, 2004, by nine Kurdish immigrants as a social project. The club has since built academies in both Sweden and the Kurdistan Region. The team’s colors are symbolic of Kurdistan, with the Kurdish flag included in the crest on their shirts.

Dalkurd had bulldozed its way up the ranks of Swedish football since its 2005 introduction in Tier Seven, winning five promotions in its first five seasons. After a string of poor results in Sweden’s top division, Dalkurd were relegated on the last day of the 2018 season, finishing in 15th place with 24 points (6-6-18).

The club currently competes in Sweden’s second-tier league, the Superettan. They sit in fourteenth place with 30 points.

Editing by Joanne Stocker-Kelly