Underground Footbal club / Dcontract
What is the concept behind Underground Football Club?
At Dcontract, we wanted to change football’s image as a game for idiots played in stadiums. We noticed that loads of people loved football in the creative spheres in Paris, but they didn’t talk about it because it’s seen as working-class. Our goal was to change how it was played in order to modernise it and rewrite the codes. We moved from grass pitches and stadiums to abandoned sites, which is where the term “underground” comes from. We made our pitch octagonal, which changes the rules of the game, and have mixed teams playing intense, 15-minute matches. We’ve also added an artistic, creative side through partnerships, offering events such as international artists, DJs and live music.
Who are the players?
We’re currently in our third season. In the first year we only had one final event with 8 teams. The second year we held a championship with 10 teams, including 6 which were qualified and 4 others we found abroad who only came for the final. This year we have 20 teams (Iconoclast, Records Collection, Universal Music, Adidas & Friends, Starcow, Chmpgn, Partizan, Konbini, Etendard, Avoc, Miala, Frenzy, Mk2, So Foot, Fubiz, Kitsune, Calvi On The Rocks, Inter Des Medias, Pain Surprises and Bangumi / Le Petit Journal) who represent the cool, creative teams in Paris. We’re holding two championships in order to select the 5 best teams from each. Afterwards there are play-offs between the best teams to find the Top 6. Then we call on 4 foreign teams to have a total of 10 teams playing in the final.
What’s going on tonight?
Tonight the third match is being played in an abandoned factory in La Courneuve. The teams can bring their supporters, but only the final event is open to the public. The championship started 6 weeks ago, and we’re right in the middle of it! The Underground Football Club is about playing football, but also about music, art, parties and having fun together. Players often come up with new projects together thanks to these events. It creates a real community.
How do you choose the teams?
Mainly by drawing on our network. We’re an events and communications agency, so we’re in constant contact with photographers, designers and production companies all year round. We also receive applications! We do still have to go through a selection process, based on the love of football, influence and the Parisian creative aspect. We test people’s motivation, but that’s easy to see. We’ve had to refuse applications as we already have more than 20!
"We wanted to change football’s image as a game for idiots played in stadiums. We noticed that loads of people loved football in the creative spheres in Paris, but they didn’t talk about it because it’s seen as working-class."
You said the teams are mixed. Is it not too hard to choose them?
Not at all! As each game is played on small pitches, the physical difference is less apparent, and it makes the whole thing less rough. The men are careful. But everyone fights to win. The mixed teams also make the parties better!
Who is behind this project?
Dcontract came up with the concept, but we have a partnership with Adidas. The brand funds all of the sportswear, but we have huge freedom with the teams, communication and how we manage the project.
What is the concept behind Dcontract?
We are an events and communications agency. I founded it in 2004 with a friend. We wanted to host parties in places that weren’t designed for the purpose, but we also constantly strive to offer creative, meticulous content. We started in public places such as subway carriages in Paris. The turning point came when we created a race in heels for the brand Sarenza. From that moment onwards I stopped my other job in a humanitarian organisation and devoted all of my time to Dcontract.
Do you think Parisian nightlife has much going for it at the moment?
Yes! I think there’s a good mix. We’re so quick to complain in France. Although I would say there aren’t enough cool places to really go wild. The thing that annoys me is that no one wants to go into the suburbs, but that’s where the future of partying is going to be, thanks to the Grand Paris public transport project and its new subway lines. There are so many amazing places out there with the potential to create something incredible.
Any predictions for this year’s championship?
Partizan has got to the final twice, and they’re going to want to win it this year! Records Collection won last year, and they always put out a strong team. But we don’t know the foreign teams who are coming for the final stage this year. We’ve never seen them play. There will be an Italian team who is close with Juventus in Turin, so I think they’ll be ones to watch.