UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin and Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) counterpart Just Spee look ahead to a landmark occasion for the women's game.
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Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president:
Welcome to Eindhoven for the UEFA Women’s Champions League final!
It’s truly remarkable to witness the exponential progress of women’s football in recent years, and we have watched it grow with great pride. And this fantastic competition has played no small part in such a rapid rise in quality and public awareness.
Since the very beginning of the season, we have witnessed the club game develop layers of strength in depth, culminating in a dramatic knockout phase in which every team had a real chance of being here today. Now, there is just one last step remaining for the two best teams in their quest for prestigious European silverware.
The Netherlands has fresh memories of major women’s football events, with UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 being a true celebration of football won by an unstoppable home side. The hosts may not have a team in this final, but they have already won thanks to the great work the Royal Netherlands Football Association has put into staging this match. I take the opportunity to thank the association’s president, Just Spee, and his team for their support.
Now, let’s leave the final stage to the players. May the best team win!
Just Spee, KNVB president:
We feel honoured to be your hosts for the UEFA Women’s Champions League final and are thrilled to see this event held on Dutch soil for the very first time. We consider this great game taking place in the Netherlands as setting a new landmark for women’s football in our country. We have long held ambitions to see this occur.
For years now, women’s football has been on the rise in the Netherlands. With each new season, we welcome many young girls who aspire to become great footballers among our new members. The recent successes of our national team have been a great driving force for these younger generations of girls to pursue their dreams and to start playing or become fans for life.
In particular, UEFA Women’s EURO 2017, which was hosted here, showed us that football is about so much more than just chasing victories and winning gold medals. Football brings us entertainment, excitement and admiration.
In the Netherlands, that tournament changed the perspective of an entire generation of girls as to what their role in football could be, on and off the field. With 135,000 female players now members of the Royal Netherlands Football Association, we put much effort into getting women excited about becoming a coach, a referee or a board member at one of our country’s many football clubs. We believe that developments like these will bring our beloved sport to the next level.
In the future, we will keep striving for new opportunities to inspire our younger generations – boys and girls – to pursue their dreams in football. With this in mind, the UEFA Women’s Champions League fits right into our goals. With two strong finalists in FC Barcelona and VfL Wolfsburg, we can expect a night to remember.