Whether you believe in him or not, Santa Claus is the heart of all things good at Christmas. Depending where in the world you are Santa Claus has different meanings and forms. In some cultures he is known better as Saint Nicholas who brings toys and sweets to good boys and girls in December. In others he is Papa Noel, Kerstman, Grampa Frost, The Old Man of Christmas or Father Christmas. But for one town in northern Finland, Santa Claus has taken a very different form – this time as a successful football team. Established in 1993, the aptly named FC Santa Claus Artic Circle has just won promotion to the third tier of Finnish football. Hailing from Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland this amatuer team has embraced its heritage and pays tribute to its most famous resident by taking his name all year round. Playing in red and white, Santa Claus FC have been in fine form this season and secured promotion from the Kolmonen- Pohjois Suomi group and will now be playing next year back in the Kakkonen after a three year absence.
The did so with a narrow 1-0 victory over Rotaaurin Pallo which helped them clinch top spot in the division, with 50 points from 20 games played and an amazing 104 goals scored. Team spokesman Jouni Toyras was delighted with the result saying “we’re happy to show people that we’re in this for fun, but we also take it seriously as you can see from our fine result.” Head coach Tapio Haapaniemi and owner Juha Eteläinen were also in buoyant moods come the final whistle along with the home fans including you guessed it – Santa Claus. Father Christmas is an attendee at some of their games when he is not working and even appeared on their official club photo complete with long white beard and iconic red suit. He regularly appears in the clubs official videos on their YouTube Channel too as a spokesperson and evangelist for the club. With the season now at a close, Santa Claus can go back to focusing on his biggest night of the season – Christmas Eve.
Whilst other sides are struggling and hoping for a miracle this festive season, it would appear that for one team at least Christmas has indeed come early. FC Santa Claus has brought cheer and goodwill to its fans this year, with a little help from one very special magical guest.
Check out the official FC Santa Claus YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdYg1MM9muVc3eXHPgkB8ow