Four Spanish Teams with a Royal Title

23 May, 2020
Spanish teams with a royal title date back to the beginning of the last century, during the reign of Alfonso XIII and his passion for soccer. Learn about their history in this article.
 

There are several Spanish teams with a royal title, besides the popular Madrid team. Why do soccer clubs carry this distinction? Are there other royal teams in the world? We’ll answer this very particular question in the following article.

Why are there Spanish teams with a royal title?

Madrid, Betis, and Sporting de Gijón, to name just three examples, each has in common the word ‘Real’ (which translates into Royal) before their name. What does this title mean? This denomination for certain institutions is given to the teams because of a decision made by King Alfonso XIII at the beginning of the last century.

During his reign, between 1886 and 1931, many of the Spanish teams that continue to play in The League were founded. King Alfonso enjoyed soccer, and that’s why he began to offer the ‘Royal’ title to those teams that requested it.

Getting the royal title

The process they had to follow was the same for all teams. After they were founded, the team had to send a request to the Royal House for the inclusion of the Royal title. More bureaucratic steps followed this request. Of course, the teams needed the king’s endorsement to get the title; therefore, in some cases, they would offer the President of Honor position in the club to the king.

Once the Royal House received the request, it would respond by accepting, rejecting, or requesting more information about the institution. For example, they needed to know the number of members on the team. Most applications received approval, which is why there are so many teams that have the royal title today.

 

The first teams to ask for the distinction were the Royal Sporting Club of La Coruña and the Sporting Club of the Sala Calvet.

It’s worth noting that in 1931, with the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic, the Spanish teams that had the royal title had to remove that word from their name. For example, Real Madrid became Madrid FC, and they removed the crown from their emblem as well.

A player from the Real Madrid team to exemplify Spanish soccer teams that carry the Royal title

With the Franco regime, although some teams were able to regain their title, others had to change their foreign names, for example Sporting, Racing, or Athletic. They later got their names back, as well as the word ‘Real‘.

Which are the Spanish teams with the royal title?

More than 20 Spanish teams have the world Real or Royal in their names. Some of them are:

1. The Real Madrid Football Club

Founded in 1902, the club from the Spanish capital obtained the acceptance of King Alfonso XIII de Borbón to carry the Royal title in June 1920. In a letter, the monarch granted them permission to put the title before their name.

At that time, the team became the Real Madrid Football Club and they included a crown on their emblem. On top of that, the royal firstborn, Alfonso, became the honorary president of the club.

 

2. Real Betis FC

Their founding date is September 12, 1907, in Seville. Betis FC received their Royal title in August 1914, thanks to the management of the club’s president at that time, Pedro Rodríguez de la Borbolla.

The greem emblen of the Real Betis FC portrays a crown as they are one of the Spanish teams with a royal title

3. Royal Sporting Club of La Coruña

This team was founded in 1906 and, three years later, King Alfonso XIII granted them the Royal title. The team named him an honorary president in exchange.

4. Real Sporting de Gijón

Its original name, in 1905, was Sporting Club Gijonés. In 1912, they received the long-awaited letter from the King to become the Royal Sporting Club Gijonés, and of course, the king also became the honorary president of this club. Four years later, the team changed its name to what we know today: Real Sporting de Gijón.

A Real Sporting de Gijón player in the middle of a soccer game
 

More Spanish teams with the royal title

Other Spanish teams with a royal title are Real Sociedad, Real Ávila, Real Burgos, Real Celta de Vigo, Real Jaen Club, Royal Sporting Club Mallorca, Royal Spanish Sports Club of Barcelona, Real Racing Club de Santander and Real Zaragoza.

Finally, we must also mention that there are teams with a royal title outside of Spain as well. Some examples of this are the Real Salt Lake City from the United States, the Real Club España from México, Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, and Real Sociedad Brugge from Belgium.

Other teams that complete this list are the Real CD España from Honduras, the Club Real Potosí from Bolivia, Real Garcilaso from Peru, and Real Cartagena and Real Santander Football Club from Colombia, among others.

 
  • Iglesias, B – De reyes y fútbol: ¿por qué mi equipo es “Real”? – Enero 2019 – Vice – https://www.vice.com/es/article/nza4eq/de-reyes-y-futbol-por-que-mi-equipo-es-real-alfonso-xiii-real-madrid-espana
  • Pinzón, D – ¿Cuántos equipos con el nombre Real existen alrededor del mundo? – Abril 2016 – TUDN – https://www.tudn.com/futbol/mls/cuantos-equipos-con-el-nombre-real-existen-alrededor-del-mundo