FC Barcelona is famed around the world for not just being a top football club, but also for having a variety of teams playing other sports. And that’s where Tuesday’s Champions League opponent APOEL shares a lot in common with the Catalan giants, for it has teams playing as many ten different sports. And those sports aren’t so different to the ones played at Barça, for in addition to football, APOEL also has basketball, futsal, volleyball and athletics sections.
APOEL was founded in 1926 and has won more football titles than any other team in the country (23 leagues, 19 cups and 13 super cups). They are currently top of the national table with two points more than second placed Apollon, which whom they drew 0-0 last Friday. Although they can no longer qualify for a place in the next phase of the Champions League, they are now battling it out with Ajax for third place in the group and a Europa League berth.
APOEL’s basketball section was founded in 1947. The team has won both the national league championship and the domestic cup 11 times each, and will always be remembered for the achievements of the amazing Tony Harris. APOEL are currently top of the Cypriot table, while the women’s team are fourth.
The youngest section is that of futsal, where the team is currently second in the table, three points behind leaders and city rivals Onomia Nicosia. They finished third in the Main Round of this season’s UEFA Futsal Cup, while the team that progressed from the group, Berettyóújfalu of Hungary, went on to face Barça in the Elite Round at the Palau Blaugrana. Unlike at Barça, where all of the different teams play in the same Palau, at APOEL there is a separate pavilion for each discipline.
Like FC Barcelona, APOEL also boasts a volleyball section. Formed in 1971, the side went on to win the national league very year from 1978 to 1985 and has ten crowns in total. It also formed a cycling section in 1970 that has produced some of the country’s top international cyclists, and also competes in table tennis, athletics, swimming, water polo, bowling and archery.