Author Topic: New ideas for Women's Cup  (Read 765 times)

Offline David

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New ideas for Women's Cup
« on: May 01, 2007, 08:53:24 AM »
A new name is adorning the UEFA Women's Cup today, and could soon be followed by "a new final concept" as UEFA looks to develop its premier club competition for female footballers.

'Skilful and exciting'
Arsenal LFC ended the stranglehold on the trophy by clubs from Germany and Sweden by defeating the latter's champions, Umeå IK, 1-0 over two legs following a 0-0 draw on Sunday. Karen Espelund, chair of the UEFA Women's Football Committee, said of the tie: "I've seen two very good finals, especially this last one here in London which was a very skilful and exciting 0-0. We always knew that the Swedes were physical, but I was impressed by the Arsenal team who were both physical and technical.

'A real fight'
"We now have 43 or 44 teams out of the 53 UEFA member associations entering the competition, which to me is extremely good," continued Espelund, who is also general secretary of the Norwegian Football Association. "The quality has been raised every year. German and Swedish teams have dominated and we now have an English champion. Brøndby [IF of Denmark] also gave Arsenal a real fight in the semi-finals, and it benefits the development of the tournament if teams from different countries are challenging the two or three big clubs."

One final
While Espelund was pleased to see a new winner, her main concern is the long-term development of the competition. She told "The challenge for UEFA now is to develop the concept of the final. There's always a risk with two legs that the second leg can almost be of no importance, which we didn't have this year, so I think we have to develop it so we have one final like the UEFA Cup for men."

Host city
In addition to the single final, Espelund would also like to follow the lead of the men's UEFA Cup by allocating a host city well in advance of the final to make it more of a spectacle: "We've sent out questionnaires to the associations asking them about three or four models or concepts, most of them including one final with two teams. That would give a federation one or two years planning time as it can be a bit of a problem staging finals at short notice."

Exciting time
The Norwegian hopes a decision will be made "in the autumn" about the new concepts, the goal of which is to heighten the commercial appeal of the competition by making the brand stronger. "Having England as the new winner will also help strengthen the brand," concluded Espelund, who continues to have a major influence in what is an exciting time for women's football.