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Developing football in Denmark

Denmark has a fine football tradition dating back to 1889 when their FA was founded.

Overview

Source: UEFA Grassroots survey (2019)

The objectives of the Danish Football Association (DBU) can be broken down into three areas:

1. Winning – national teams qualifying for EURO finals and the FIFA World Cup (men and women), as well clubs performing well in European club competitions (men and women).

2. Children – overarching mission of having the ‘world’s best football for children’.

3. Together – a commitment to working together, from the association through to the leagues, players, coaches, men and women, east and west Denmark.

UEFA support

UEFA’s HatTrick programme, which channels EURO funds into football development across Europe, has allowed the DBU to keep more young players actively playing the game thanks to the appointment of a team of 16 club advisors.

Spread across the breadth of Denmark, these specialists work with grassroots clubs, delivering training programmes for coaches and volunteers to ensure young players are receiving quality guidance in a safe environment and increasing the number of boys and girls playing the sport.

By providing the right conditions for children and teenagers to enjoy the game, the DBU is able to raise grassroots standards and keep more players involved into adulthood.

UEFA Foundation for Children in Denmark

Set up in 2015, the UEFA foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children’s lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.

Football for Unity

Sport's potential power as a social tool has become increasingly recognised by the EU thanks to its ability to promote values such as teamwork, respect, diversity, equality of opportunity and fair play.

Football for Unity is a pan-European project, co-funded by the EU, streetfootballworld and the European Football for Development Network (EFDN), which uses football to help improve the lives of refugees and third-country nationals in seven UEFA EURO 2020 host cities, including Copenhagen.

The initiative, which will run during the tournament, will include football-focused activities that provide a pathway into the community for those who have previously struggled to integrate due to cultural differences, language barriers or social stigmas.

Timeline

Association history

1889: Founded on 18 May 1889, the Dansk Boldspil-Union (DBU) is the first national football association in mainland Europe. At the time, only one of the 20 clubs in Copenhagen is dedicated exclusively to football.
1929: Although a Danish championship is played in 1913, it is not until 1929/30 that a full-blown league is organised with ten sides in the first division.
1936: A second division is added, with a third tier following in 1945.
1954: Dane Ebbe Schwartz becomes the first president of UEFA. A man of great diplomacy with an international education, the former AB Copenhagen goalkeeper steers the organisation skilfully through its early years.
1958: Structural modifications see the domestic autumn/spring season change to a calendar-year format, ending in November, with the three divisions expanding to 12 teams each.
1971: With the domestic game still amateur, the DBU begins to accept foreign-based professionals in the national team.
1977: Allan Simonsen is crowned European Footballer of the Year as the Danes begin to exert more of an international influence.
1992: The Danish Superliga launches and, immediately, the campaign reverts to autumn/spring. The first five years of this new-look competition produce five different champions, confirming a renewed spread of power in the national game.
1994: The national stadium is selected to host the 1994 European Cup Winners' Cup final, with England's Arsenal defeating Italy's Parma 1-0.
2000: Arsenal return to Parken for the UEFA Cup final, but are beaten on penalties by Galatasaray of Turkey.
2016: The Superliga is expanded to 14 teams for the 2016/17 season.

National team competitions

1960: Denmark take an Olympic silver medal, losing out to Yugoslavia after reaching to the final with a win over Hungary and having navigated their way through a group including Argentina, Poland and Tunisia. It is a first official honour for the Danes, despite actually winning an unofficial Olympic tournament in Athens in 1906.
1986: A talented Danish squad reach their first FIFA World Cup, topping a group that includes finalists West Germany before losing to Spain in the round of 16.
1991: Denmark is chosen to host the UEFA European Women's Championship, the hosts finishing third behind Norway and champions Germany, defeating Italy in the third place play-off.
1992: Despite not qualifying for the tournament, Denmark's men replace Yugoslavia at UEFA EURO '92 at late notice, and shock the whole of Europe by going on to win the tournament. A series of stylish displays culminates in a rearguard effort to beat world champions Germany 2-0 in the final.
1993: It's third again for the women at EURO, this time beating Germany after losing to Norway for the second successive tournament.
1995: Denmark win the FIFA Confederations Cup, beating Argentina in the final in Saudi Arabia.
1998: In France, Denmark reach the World Cup quarter-finals, the men's best performance so far on the global stage, having failed to qualify for 1994.
2017: Denmark's women reach the final of UEFA Women's EURO 2017, but despite taking an early lead are beaten 4-2 by hosts Netherlands.
2018: Pernille Harder is named the UEFA Women's Player of the Year, claiming the honour a second time in 2020.

Jesper Møller
Jesper Møller©DBU

President

Jesper Møller

Nationality: Danish
Date of birth: 9 June 1963
Association president since: 2014

Jakob Jensen
Jakob Jensen©Anders Kjærbye/dbufoto.dk

General secretary

Jakob Jensen

Nationality: Danish
Date of birth: 6 November 1974
Association general secretary since: 2020 

Danish Football Association website