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Aulas salutes 'fantastic' Lyon achievement

"For the club it's something fantastic," said Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas after seeing the team win the UEFA Women's Champions League for the first time.

Aulas salutes 'fantastic' Lyon achievement
Aulas salutes 'fantastic' Lyon achievement ©uefa.com 1998-2012. All rights reserved.

It has been Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas's dream to see his club lift a European trophy and it was their female side that made that hope reality on Thursday.

In 2004 the former FC Lyon became the women's section of Aulas's club, and within three years had claimed the first of five straight French titles. Now they are the queens of Europe after beating 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam 2-0 to win the UEFA Women's Champions League, 12 months on from losing to the same team in the final.

Aulas watched from the stands at Craven Cottage in London, and told UEFA.com: "For the club it's something fantastic, because it's been 15 years now that we have been playing in the European Cup with the boys, it's the fourth time for the girls, and it's a really fantastic competition."

That investment has certainly been impressive, mixing the cream of the hugely-talented French national squad with foreign signings like Sweden forward Lotta Schelin and Switzerland playmaker Lara Dickenmann, who scored Lyon's second goal against Potsdam. The player of the match in the final, midfielder Camille Abily, paid tribute to Aulas, saying: "I raise my hat to him. Not many would have done what he has done."

Now Aulas is hoping Lyon's example can inspire French female football as a whole, not least in next month's FIFA Women's World Cup. "For a while now we have been trying to make women's football more attractive," he said. "We had a semi-final with 20,000 spectators [at Stade de Gerland] for the game against Arsenal. It was wonderful.

"It's true that many younger girls are signing, there have never been so many new players in women's football. This win will give a new dimension, and on top of that there is the World Cup coming up, with the French team playing against Germany, Nigeria and Canada. In our team that have just won the Champions League, there are around ten national-team players. [France coach] Bruno Bini was present, and it is good for him and for French football in general, and especially for the women's team."