ROVANIEMI, Finland — Frozen pitches, drifting snow and plunging temperatures wreak havoc with sporting matches across Europe. But here at the edge of the Arctic Circle, it takes more than sub-zero temperatures and bone-chilling cold to put Europe’s coldest soccer club on ice.
Rovaniemen Palloseura has been playing in brutally cold conditions since its founding in 1950, and it has never let winter keep it off the field.
“Minus 18 is the coldest I’ve ever played in,” says defender Tuomo Könönen. That’s just below zero degrees Fahrenheit for the metrically challenged. “That was tough. Just breathing in those temperatures is difficult.”
While playing in such conditions sounds miserable, the Rovaniemi players, profiled in Ford’s Fascinating World of Football documentary series, said it’s all part of the game.