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Sweden's drive for more female participation

A national initiative is aiming to get more women and girls involved in football as part of UEFA Women's Champions League final celebrations.

Sweden and Chelsea's Magdalena Eriksson
Sweden and Chelsea's Magdalena Eriksson TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Ima

Excitement is building following Friday's UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final and semi-final draws, and nowhere more so than in Gothenburg, the host city for May's final.

The city, in co-operation with the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) is working hard to create an event to remember for the most prestigious club match in European women's football, but also has one eye on the future and how hosting the final can create an important legacy.

Combining the power of football to inspire and unite and the positive effects of hosting such a major event, the SvFF has launched the "Plus 10,000" programme, which is aiming to inspire and encourage more women and girls to join the football family, not just as players but also coaches, referees, volunteers or administrators.

The Gothenburg Football Association has launched four local initiatives to attract more women and girls and support the Plus 10,000 scheme and promote a wider message of equality.

Referee Tess Olofsson at the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship in Switzerland in 2018
Referee Tess Olofsson at the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship in Switzerland in 2018UEFA via Getty Images

Gothenburg's local legacy initiatives

- Become a Referee - increasing the numbers of female referees on local level
- Integration Day - local youth football tournament to promote integration and diversity in society
- Become a Leader - increase the number of female leaders in local clubs and raise education
- Join a Team -increase the number of teams of young girls and women in under-represented areas

Tess Olofsson, Sweden's Referee of the Year and the first woman to referee in the men's domestic second tier, is a big supporter of the project as she approaches her first full season at that level.

"I’ve been passionate about refereeing football matches for as long as I can remember," she said. "For me, it’s only natural that a female referee should work at all levels, with both men’s and women’s teams, and I wholeheartedly welcome the Swedish Football Association and Gothenburg Football Association’s efforts to attract more women."

Open to all

Regardless of whether their ambition is to progress into the professional game or simply volunteer at an amateur level, the Plus 10,000 campaign has been free and open to everyone aged 16 and over.

Find out more about Sweden's Plus 10,000 programme (in Swedish)

This season's UEFA Women's Champions League final takes place at the Gamla Ullevi Arena on 16 May. Find out all about the latest competition news and see the quarter-final draw here.