While Europe's best women footballers are displaying their skills at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ in Finland those who have never kicked a ball have also been given a chance to show what they can do at the Unelma Cuppi event.
The competition, for adult women new to the game, is one of a number of grassroots events being staged during the WOMEN'S EURO finals that has been arranged by the Football Association of Finland (SPL-FBF). The tournament, which started with a tour of eight towns and cities from all over Finland through May and June, culminated in a final showpiece event held in Helsinki on 29 August.
"This year's tournament was the third Unelmi Cuppi, or Dream Cup, and we had 127 teams participating, which was a new record," said Lasse Keski-Loppi from the SPL-FBF. "This was definitely the best one so far. This year we had a lot of spectators too, as well as the players taking part, their partners and their children, so this was great.
"In the tournament there are women of all ages from 18 years of age upwards. There were 50- and 60-year-old women playing and it was very nice to see," he added about the no-contact event played on mini-pitches with an inflatable perimeter and goals. Teams were made up from squads of five to eight players, of which only four could be on the pitch at one time. Matches varied from eight minutes in length for the A Cup event to 16 minutes for teams in the B Cup.
With the emphasis of the event very much on fun, prizes were given to the teams with the funniest costumes and most enthusiastic supporters, as well as those who scored the most goals. "Part of the tournament is that it is fancy dress," said Loppi-Keski. "It's a recreational tournament so teams come to play for fun. Almost every team wears a costume; this year there were women in chicken outfits, army outfits and there was one team dressed as nurses. We don't judge teams with tables, so there are no winners; everybody wins."
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