FC Slutsk finds unexpected fame with 1,500 fans worldwide

FC Slutsk fans during their team’s match against FC Slavia-Mozyr at the City Stadium in Slutsk, March 22, 2020. Photo: Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters / Forum

The football club from Minsk region hopes that fans from around the world, who discovered FC Slutsk thanks to the coronavirus and the incorrect transliteration of the club’s name, will stay with the team even after the epidemic.

Established last week by the Australians, FK Slutsk Worldwide Facebook group already has more than 1,500 members from around the world. And the number is growing by the minute.

“The Coronavirus has hit football fans all over the world hard. We thank the Belarusian Premier League, and FK Slutsk for keeping football going for football fans everywhere. Come one, come all. We love the Slutsk!” says the community description.

After the suspension of the European football championships, fans from different countries discover the Belarusian Higher League. Foreign channels acquire the rights to broadcast the games, while bookmakers note a multiple increase in stakes on the matches of the Belarusian teams.

Residents of the Australian city of Adelaide decided to cheer for the club, currently ranked 7th in the standings, sponsored by the local sugar mill, probably because of the name: in English it is consonant with the word “slut” meaning “whore”.

Matt Roberts from the US suggested new flag for the team

“Slutsk till I die!”

New fans create logos and shouts in English about FC Slutsk and its opponents, do roll-calls and think how to get club merchandise in a pandemic, even thinking of starting its production in Australia.

A security officer at the Slutsk city stadium during a match against FC Slavia-Mozyr at the City Stadium in Slutsk, March 22, 2020. Photo: Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters / Forum

Some Adelaide residents even offer to establish ties with the authorities of Slutsk to establish city twinning between the two cities.

In a conversation with Belsat, the club’s press office says that the unexpected popularity has added optimism to the whole team, and in the near future the club is going to respond to the situation to encourage new fans.

“We don’t want this extraordinary story to stay just a short-term hype, but would want these fans to stay with the team even after the end of the world epidemic, even when all the world’s football will return from quarantine,” said the club. “We are preparing a well thought out response, and not only for the foreign fan club, but also for our local fans, who have stayed with the team in such a difficult moment. Thank you to all of them”.

The FC Slutsk fans supporting the team in the match against Slavia (Mozyr). Photo: Natalya Fedosenko / TASS / Forum

“Such a large-scale interest from another hemisphere has happened to FC Slutsk for the first time, although we, for example, have a fan from Wales, who came to our city and visited the home match of the team,” the club added.

While the new fans create memes and perform songs in honor of the club, the Belarusian users of Facebook continue to insist that the name of the club in English was written with a mistake.

“Slutsk till I die! Fuck BATE”. The British national Chris Napalm has published a picture of his favorite Slutsk team in FK Slutsk Worldwide.

In fact this version of FC Slutsk goes against both the transliteration of the classic Belarusian Latin alphabet (should be Słuck), and the transliteration using the official version (Sluck), approved in 2007 by the State Committee on Land Resources, Geodesy and Cartography and recommended for use by the UN in 2012.

In the commentary for Belsat the club admits that it has not discussed the name change.

“But later we will pay attention to this point,” adds the press service.

The new fans are only interested in one thing: whether FC Slutsk can take the first place in the tournament.

The FC Slutsk defender Suleiman Kanda and FC Slavia (Mozyr) midfielder Andriy Chukley are struggling for the ball during the match of the 1st round of the Higher League at the stadium in Slutsk. March 22, 2020. Photo: Natalia Fedosenko / TASS / Forum
  • Football club Slutsk (before 2011 – Slutsksakhar) this year will turn 22 years old. Before 2007, the team played in the championship of Minsk region and twice became the champion. At the end of the 2010 season, the team joined the First League. Since 2014, the team has been in the Higher League.

Denis Dziuba, Dzmitry Mitskevich, belsat.eu