Sports Club

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Sports Club


a public or private organization for athletes and sports enthusiasts.

There are amateur sports clubs, whose budgets are made up of trade union dues, rental payments for the use of sports facilities, and members’ dues, and professional sports clubs, which are financed by large-scale enterprises and joint-stock companies and which are essentially commercial enterprises. In the socialist countries, where professional sports do not exist, all sports clubs are amateur. In the capitalist countries professional sports clubs predominate; there are also amateur clubs, including municipal, college and university, workers’, and other groups. The USSR has three types of sports clubs: those affiliated with trade unions, with the armed forces, and with the Voluntary Society for Cooperation With the Army, Air Force, and Navy (DOSAAF).

In trade unions the term “sports club” is applied to physical training groups within industrial and agricultural enterprises and educational institutions that have achieved significant results in developing mass physical culture and health-improvement and sports activities and that have fulfilled the requirements set for sports clubs (as adopted by a resolution of the Presidium of the All-Union Council of Voluntary Sports Societies of Trade Unions). Trade union sports clubs are members of the corresponding volunteer sports societies. Sports clubs of the Soviet armed forces—army sports clubs (SKA)—include independent military institutions of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. The technical sports clubs (for example, aviation, automotive, radio, marksmen, and boating clubs) are education and sports organizations of DOSAAF.

The first amateur sports clubs originated during the 17th and 18th centuries: England saw the founding of a golf club in 1608 and a cricket club in 1787; a skating club was established in Scotland in 1742. In Russia the first sports clubs were founded in St. Petersburg, including the Imperial Yacht Club (1846), a river yacht club and a sporting games club (1860), a skating club (1864), a tennis and cricket club (1868); a river yacht club was founded in Moscow in 1864. In the late 19th and early 20th century soccer sports clubs that subsequently became famous were organized in many countries (many of these now have branched out into other types of sports as well): Glasgow Rangers (1873), West Bromwich Albion (1879), Arsenal (1886), and Celtic (1887) in Great Britain; Munich (1860), Hamburg (1887), and Bavaria (1900) in Germany; Racing (1882) in France; Újpest Dózsa (1885), MTK (1888), and Ferencváros (1889) in Hungary; Djurgârden (1891) in Sweden; Peñarol (1891) and Nacional (1899) in Uruguay; Slavia (1893) and Sparta (1894) in Czechoslovakia; Säo Paulo and Botafogo (both in 1894) as well as Santos (1912) in Brazil; Liège and Standard (both in 1896) in Belgium; Juventus (1897) and Milan (1899) in Italy; Atletico Bilbao (1898), Barcelona (1899), and Real (1902) in Spain; and Benfica (1904) in Portugal.

In 1913 there were about 800 sports clubs in Russia. By a resolution of the Soviet government dated June 27, 1923, these clubs were dissolved; physical education and sports activities were concentrated in the military sports clubs of the Vsevobuch organizations and in physical education circles of trade unions, educational institutions, the Dinamo Society, the Red Army, and other groups. During the 1920’s the first Soviet marksmanship and automotive sports clubs were organized, and the 1930’s saw the formation of aviation clubs (in 1936 there were 165 aviation clubs) and more than 30 technical water-sports clubs, parachute-jumping schools, and glider stations. In 1935 the Central Aviation Club of the USSR was founded (since 1938 it has been the V. P. Chkalov Central Aviation Club). During the 1930’s the primary physical education organizations at enterprises, at educational institutions, and in the army and navy became physical culture groups; in 1935–36 these were included within the volunteer sports societies.

More than 100 radio clubs of Osoaviakhim (Society for the Promotion of Defense and Aviation and Chemical Construction) were organized in the 1940’s, including the first student sports clubs (at Moscow State University, the N. E. Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School, the Moscow aviation and power-engineering institutes, Leningrad University, the Ural Polytechnical Institute, and elsewhere) and the Central Radio Club (1946). In the 1950’s the Army Central Sports Club (1953, but traces its history back to 1923), military district and naval forces’ sports clubs, the Central Automotive Club of the DOSAAF of the USSR (1957), the Central Technical Water Sports Club (1955), and the Central Marksmanship Club (1959) were set up. The 1960’s saw the establishment of the first trade union sports clubs at enterprises (including Sel’mashevets in Frunze, Uralmash in Sverdlovsk, Torpedo and Serp i Molot in Moscow, GOMZ in Leningrad, Metallurg in Zaporozh’e, and Pobeda in Tbilisi), as well as the Central Water Sports Club of the navy (1960).

The Statute on Sports Clubs at Higher Educational Institutions was adopted in 1945, the Statute on Sports Clubs at Industrial Enterprises in 1962, the Statute on Sports Clubs at Specialized Secondary Educational Institutions in 1968, and the Statute on Rural Sports Clubs in 1970. In 1972 there were more than 1,300 trade union sports clubs in the USSR, including 288 at industrial enterprises, 825 at higher educational institutions, 237 at specialized secondary educational institutions, and 59 linked with agricultural enterprises. The following societies have the greatest number of sports clubs: Burevestnik (uniting all sports clubs at higher educational institutions), Trud (117 clubs), Spartak (84), and Avangard (84). An extensive network of technical sports clubs is subordinated to DOSAAF of the USSR at the republic, krai, and oblast levels, including 1,732 under the administration of municipal and raion committees, and more than 3,000 in the major primary organizations (branches).

Along with their mass physical education and health-improvement activities the sports clubs train highly skilled athletes. In 1972 the trade union sports clubs trained approximately 2,000 masters of sport as well as 35,000 master’s candidates and first-category athletes. DOSAAF trained 1,200 masters of sport and 28,200 master’s candidates and first-category athletes during the same period, and the sports clubs of the Soviet armed forces trained 9,000 masters of sport from 1965 to 1972. Many outstanding Soviet athletes, including champions of the Olympic Games, the world, Europe, and the USSR, received their training in sports clubs.

Sports clubs participate in international, all-Union, republic, and other competitions, including departmental matches (championships, Spartakiads, and tournaments for cups offered by trade unions, DOSAAF, and the armed forces of the USSR). Among the country’s foremost sports clubs are those of the largest higher educational institutions; industrial enterprises, including ZIL (Moscow), Uralmash (Sverdlovsk), Zaria (Voroshilovgrad), VEF (Riga), Zapoliarnik (Noril’sk), Araks (Yerevan), and Rostsel’mash (Rostov-on-Don); and the Central Sports Club of the Army and the technical sports clubs of DOSAAF and the Army in Kiev, Leningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Khabarovsk, and elsewhere.

Among the sports clubs in the other socialist countries are Dukla, Sparta, Slovan, ZKL, and Skoda in the Czechoslovak SSR; Legia, Górnik, and Ruch in the People’s Republic of Poland; Steana and Rapid in the Rumanian Socialist Republic; Crvena Zvezda and Partizan in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; Csépel, Vasas, MTK, Ferencváros, and Honvéd in the People’s Republic of Hungary; Slaviia, Levski, and TsSKA in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria; and Vorwärts, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Chemie, and Aufbau in the German Democratic Republic.


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