Say the name FC Amkal to most people outside of Russia, and the general response would likely be “who?” But ask that question in Russia, the club’s homeland, and the response will be quite different, with their matches amassing more viewers than Russian Premier League matches. In this global age of the digital game, FC Amkal is the future…

Doing exactly what the tournament should do, the 2018 World Cup in Russia cast the attention of the globe on a footballing community that was otherwise not that well known outside of the nation’s borders, highlighting the different culture of both the people and of their game. And born from that attention is Russia’s first-ever media football team: introducing FC Amkal.

Consisting of the biggest football YouTubers in the country, taking the local football culture to the next level, FC Amkal was founded in 2018 by Russian content creator, German El Classico, as a direct result of the World Cup and its influence on the nation. And since then the club haven’t looked back, riding the crest of the digital age of influencers to amass a following that dwarfs even many Russian Premier League sides, and boasting talent like Elkhan, one of the best street footballers in Russia, Klenoff, a FIFA Pro player and Russia FIFA Champion, and Sibskana, the team’s captain.

Over 10 million followers online translates into thousands of fans on the stands for their matches, exceeding the attendance of RPL matches. Boasting one of the biggest fan bases in the country, Amkal FC's latest friendly games in Russia (St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Kaluga), Belarus (Minsk) and Germany (Stuttgart) were completely sold out.

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And this following is more than just a group of loyal supporters – FC Amkal fans have a real influence on the club activity. As an example, through open voting on the club’s social channels the fans are taking part in crucial decisions that form the direction of the club, from selecting new players, to picking the new kit design or colour. Being open to the fans and making them a part of the club is a key to FC Amkal success. 

Focusing on the kit – a key part of any club’s identity – and the club have enjoyed the support of  adidas from day one. The first FC Amkal kit released was sold out within minutes, outstripping professional football clubs in the country such as CSKA Moscow. It’s an unprecedented level of support for a new breed of team, and one that was recognised by EA Sports, who added the FC Amkal kit to FIFA 20. And adidas aren't the only big brand to take notice of their rapid growth, with Beats also recently becoming collaborative partners with the team. 

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In short, FC Amkal is changing the game locally, showing the different side of football and bringing the joy of football to its younger supporters based in smaller cities across Russia. But in a world where borders are constantly being broken down, their influence is not going to stop in their home country. This is just the beginning…

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You can follow FC Amkal through their Instagram page, located here.