By 90Min
October 29, 2017

Swedish side Dalkurd FF, a team set up by Kurdish immigrants, have qualified to play in the country's top-flight, Allsvenskan, for the first time in their history - just 13 years after their inception. 

The small football club based in the county of Dalarna, a three-hour drive north west of Stockholm, secured their seventh promotion since 2004 on Saturday after they overcame GAIS 1-0 in their final home game of the season. 

The side, who are now widely supported by the Kurdish people across the globe, were set up by nine immigrants midway through the 2000's as a social project in order to keep troubled local youngsters off the street. 

However, since the arrival of Kurdish millionaires Sarkat Junad and Kawa Junad, who now own 49% of the club in a co-owned structure, Dalkurd have risen up the Swedish leagues and boast over 1.5m followers on one of their devoted Facebook pages. 

Without a recognised state to call their own, the Kurds have not been able to form a national side that is accepted by world football's governing body FIFA, but many see the small Scandinavian side, which features three Kurdish players - including captain Peshraw Azizi, as their representation in the sport. 

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"What the team has managed to create is both a team that has its ties very much to the locality but also allows supporters from the entire Kurdish diaspora to support it", Iraqi-Kurdish author Agri Ismail, who is based in Sweden, told CNN Sport ahead of the club's promotion.

"Rather than support a Stockholm team, I can support Dalkurd because they are 'my' team, even if I've never been to Dalarna.

"It allows for a communal space, away from the traditional spheres where minority identities are upheld such as politics or religion, a new way to celebrate Kurdishness.

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"This is different from the usual reasons behind supporting a team, which is either based on locality or the team's success. Most Kurds in the Kurdish region are either Barcelona or Real Madrid fans, and El Clasico games are massive in Kurdistan."

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