football

'It's tragic': Swedish women's champions dissolved after title win


The champions of the Swedish women’s league, Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, have dissolved their senior side and all players have been released from their contracts just over a month after winning a first league title.

The decision to fold the senior side was made by the board on 17 December, the day after a 3-0 defeat by Manchester City in the Champions League ensured the Swedish champions exited the last-32 5-1 on aggregate. They told all staff on Tuesday.

Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC – which is not attached to a men’s club – will still run teams up to under-19 level but the investment of Kopparbergs, the brewery and the club’s title sponsor, is being withdrawn.

Club chairman Peter Bronsmanis also the CEO of Kopparbergs, and he told Göteborgs-Posten that since the club’s formation in 2003 there are now numerous clubs in the city – IFK Göteborg, BK Häcken, Öis and Gais – that have set up women’s teams and that they should take the baton.

“My opinion and that of the board is that having a women’s elite team is not compatible with 2021. The big four men’s teams have their own women’s teams. We have done what we promised. We have created a lot of role models and got a lot of [girls] to start playing football.”

He argued that Göteborg is unable to compete with the resources of teams such as Bayern Munich and Manchester City, the two sides to knock the Swedish team out of the Champions League in the past two seasons, and that this demonstrated the club were no longer able compete in Europe.

Nils Wiberg, the CEO of club sponsor Prioritet Finans, told fotbollskanalen.se: “First and foremost I am very sad for Gothenburg as a city and for all the women here. The team has real value as a symbol for women’s sport in our city. It is tragic – for everyone.”

The team departs having finished seven points clear of 11-time Damallsvenskan champions FC Rosengård and with the best defensive record in the league having only conceded 10 goals across 22 games.

The team’s top-scorer with 12 goals, Pauline Hammarlund, featured at No 99 in the Guardian’s 100 best female footballers of 2020 list. She finished with the joint-second highest tally in the league while Rebecka Blomqvist was joint seventh in the league with nine goals. They, alongside their teammates, including Norwegian midfielder Vilde Bøe Risa, are now available to sign for other clubs.

“It is like a bolt from a clear blue sky,” midfielder Elin Rubensson told fotbollskanalen.se. “I didn’t have a clue, no one did. I was really shocked, sad and confused. I didn’t understand anything. I still hope that someone can come in and save the club.”

KGFC’s head of press Tore Lund told Sveriges Radio that, had the team progressed to the next round of the Champions League, the club would likely have continued into the new year.

The Wales midfielder Jess Fishlock tweeted: “A team in the CL just folding like that. How can that happen? A stark reminder of how fragile the women’s game actually is.”

This is not the first time as Swedish team flying high has left the top division. Tyresö FF, then home to Brazilian superstar Marta, Swedish midfielder Caroline Seger and Spain’s Vero Boquete, reached the Champions League final in 2014 before being dissolved one month later with its parent company deeply in debt and on the brink of bankruptcy.





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