Local businessman saves Bälinge's finances

Bälinge has not only been having a tough year on the field, it's also been tough financially. Bad results doesn't attract crowds to the stands and smaller crowds means less interest from sponsors. The last place club has been walking on the brink of bankrupcy. After an unsuccessful attempt to get the Uppsala city council to bail them out, a local businessman, Vahik Abrami, has stepped in with a six figure amount. Abrami says in a press release that "women's football is an important part of our local sports scene. We cannot lose that."
Bälinge's sport director Conny Sjöberg says that Abrami and the club are in talks about a more long-term cooperation, but no details are set yet.
Vahik Abrami is the CEO of a company that is planning a big mall and entertainment centre just outside Uppsala.
Upsala Nya Tidning:
Sponsor räddar Bälinge

Fair play award to Caroline Seger

The annual teacher's pet award, the referee association's player of the year award for "showing good fair play spirit", has been given to Linköping's Caroline Seger.
Dagens Nyheter:
Caroline Seger prisad

Sunnanå's injured Bodén gone for six months

Anna Bodén, Sunnanå's midfielder, hurt her knee during the match against AIK. An arthroscopi shows that both her meniscus and one of the ligaments in her left knee is damaged and she will hjave to have surgery. The rehabilitation is estimated to be six months long.
Sunnanå have since before three midfield players on the injury list; Kicki Viklund, Erika Karlsson and Johanna Lindahl. All of them are close to getting ready to play again, but it will probably take a few weeks.
Norra Västerbotten:
Knäet är skadat – Bodén borta i sex månader

Kif Örebro's young forward star Emilia Erixon, who had great success during the spring last year, will not be able to return to play even this season. She suffered an ACL tear last August and then managed to tear it again during rehab training in March. New surgery followed and a new long rehabilitation period. Theoretically, she could be ready to play the last matches, but she is cautious: "It would be really fun to play, but you have to be realistic" Erixon says and adds that she and her physiotherapist agrees to go slower forward than maybe necessary.
Nerikes Allehanda: Inget spel för KIF:s anfallsstjärna i år

Linköping risk to be fined for lack of security at Umeå match

Linköping were hoping for, and planning for, a crowd of about 7,000 for the Umeå match. 9,500 came to see the match at the 8,000 capacity Folkungavallen. Parking problems and long queues at the gates were the minor problems. Far more serious were that the stairs in the main stands were crowded with sitting fans during match, which is a direct security risk. The 150 volunteers working the match was not enough, and it wouldn't have helped. It is hard to push in 1,500 people over capacity into an arena. The Swedish FA representative will file a report, which might lead to some kind of reprisals for Linköping.
LFC riskerar straff efter publikkaoset

Victoria Svensson on marriage and children

Victoria Svensson's announcement a few months ago that she she has married and had a child has of course prompted some curiosity and Victoria talks about it in two big interviews, one in Sweden's biggest newspaper Aftonbladet and one in the gay magazine QX.
She clears out what appearently (and surprisingly, at least to me) has been a common miscionception: she did not give birth to the child herself. The birthmother is her partner since ten years, and since a couple of months also her wife. It was, says Victoria, a simple decision that her partner and not Victoria should carry the child, with the Olympics coming up and all. But she wants more children and hopes to be able to give birth to one herself in the future. She says that she is really happy for the baby, a girl named Moa, and thinks it has made her a better player: "I feel more relaxed".
She says that she has never tried to hide her relationship: "I've always been open about it to everyone around me. There are journalists that has known about it for years, but haven't published anything...I'm really glad that they have waited until I thought it was the right time...I wanted to be known as the football player, not as the woman who lives with another woman.". But marrying and having a baby changed her mind "I'm so proud of my family and I really want to talk about them".
"Det var självklart att min fru skulle föda barnet"
QX: VISST SPELAR VICKAN I VÅRT LAG (pdf, interview at page 22-23)

National team: Goalkeeper decision favours experience over form

National team coach Thomas Dennerby today announced his decision for the second goalkeeper position iin the Olympic squad. With the choice between an in-form Kristin Hammarström with little experience (she got her first cap in February this year) and the very experienced Caroline Jönsson, who on the other hand has played very few matches since her ACL injury last year, he went for Jönsson: "It was a difficult decision, but experience favorued Caroline Jönsson".
Both Caroline Jönsson and Kristin Hammarström will however go to China as will two of the alternates, Lisa Dalkvist and Johanna Almgren. Even if they are not part of the team and doesn't get to stay in the Olympic village, the team management thinks it is worth the extra cost to have them at location if they are needed. That way there will be no problems with travel time and possible jet lag for the alternates if they get called in.
Svensk Fotboll:
Caroline Jönsson blir andremålvakt

The last day of training at Gotland saw Charlotte Rohlin and Hanna Ljungberg resting, while all the others were in full training. The Wednesday program also included some team-building activities, among them canoeing. Getting wet and looking stupid is always good for team spirit.
SVT: Damlandslaget inledde med kanotutmaning (video)

Hanna Ljungberg was kept from training yesterday with a pain in the back of her right thigh - her earlier injury problems has been in the left thigh. But she had an MRI exam today, Thursday, which gave an all clear for her. She will however not participate in Umeå IK's exhibition match against Brazil tonight.
Västerbottenskuriren: Hanna Ljungberg klar för OS

Umeå to host UEFA Women's Cup qualifications

UEFA has chosen Umeå IK to one of the second group round of the UEFA Women's Cup 2008/09. Umeå is very pleased to be given the opportunity to host the group. It's a good mark on the club's ability to host these competitions - it's the third time for Umeå - and "financially it's definitely an advantage", says marketer Susanne Granberg. Umeå usually makes a profit from these tournaments.
The group will be played October 9-15 and consist of the seeded clubs Umeå IK and Bardolino Verona and two teams from the first qualification round. Winners and runners-up qualify for the quarter-finals.
Vinst för UIK - igen

Players caught thieves

During Umeå IK's morning practise, two women had gained access to the locker-room and tried to get away with the players cellphones, wallets and other valuables. They were discovered and when they tried to escape, Umeå's Frida Östberg and Lisa Dahlkvist ran after, caught up and brought them back to Umeå's club house where they turned them over to the police.
Lisa Dahlkvist thought it was really exciting, "I've always wanted to be a police officer", while Frida Östberg, "not scared, just pissed-off", commented that the thieves probably tried to out-run the wrong people.
Frida Östberg stoppade tjuvar
Västerbottenskuriren: UIK-stjärna grep tjuvar på bar gärning

New position for Jeglertz in Umeå?

Andrée Jeglertz, doing his fifth season as head coach for Umeå, has been offered a new contract. Former Umeå manager Roland Arnqvist, who is hired by the club as resonsible for player and staff recruitments for the 2009 season, says that the club is eager to keep him and that he might get a somewhat different role in the new club management.
With Arnqvist leaving the club, Jeglertz could take a sport director/manager position with present assistant coach Steve Galloway as the new coach. Jeglertz comments that he hasn't yet decided how he would answer such an offer. Västerbottens Folkblad:
UIK vill ha kvar Jeglertz

Umeå to meet Bardolino Verona in Women's Cup group

The schedule and seedings for the 2008/09 UEFA Women's Cup is set. Umeå IK is one of the seven teams that are top seeded and will not have to play the first qualification round. In the second qualification round, to be played October 9-14, Umeå is paired up with Italy's Bardolino Verona and a quarterfinal (played in the first half of November) will probably be against Arsenal or Lyon.
Women's Cup set for new season

Three match suspension for Marta

Marta will be suspended between June 28 and July 9, the Swedish Football Association's discipline committee decided Tuesday night. The match ban is a result of the incident in the match against LDB FC Malmö on June 11, which rendered Marta a red card.
The three matches that are affected are the Swedish Cup match at Sundsvall June 28 and the Hammarby (July 1) and Göteborg (July 9) matches in Damallsvenskan.
Svensk Fotboll: Marta avstängd i tre matcher

Weekend distraction

Just a couple of video interviews with foreign players, that you might find entertaining or interesting. I don't think I've posted these before and they should be enjoyable for people that don't understand Swedish, since the conversations are mostly in English. None of the clips are really new, but if you don't keep track of the video postings at SVT and TV4, you might have missed them.

Lisa de Vanna
A TV4 interview with Lisa de Vanna kicking around a ball in downtown Stockholm. The comment in Swedish from AIK team mate Elin Ekblom and AIK sport director Peter Johansson says that she brings a new dimension to the team's attack with her speed and scoring ability.

Daniela Alves
An old clip from March, when she just had moved to Linköping. For those of you who understand Portugese. She among other things comments on her stint with Göteborg 2004, which was a failure for both her and the club. But, she says, she is older and more mature now.

Mami Yamaguchi
SVT visits Mami at her flat in Umeå. They talk about her move to college in USA and the big problems she had the first year, but how her pride forbid her to drop out and return to Japan, the success she had later and how she decided to jump on the opportunity to play for Umeå.

Nadine Angerer
SVT follows Angerer in Swedish class and examines sentences like "Jag är världens bästa målvakt" (I am the best goalkeeper in the world) and "Jag är en spjuver" (I am a joker). "She is crazy", says her Djurgården and Germany team mate Ariane Hingst, "like all goalkeepers are".

Caroline Jönsson close to come-back

LDB FC Malmö's and Sweden's goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson, who has been out of action for almost a year following her ACL injury last summer, will probably make her come-back against Göteborg on June 29. She has been playing a couple of matches for Malmö's reserve side and says she is getting in good form. She admits she is still lacking in timing, but more matches will help that. National team coach Thomas Dennerby says that if she can show a form close to what she showed before her injury, she is a name for the Olympic squad.
Dagens Nyheter:
Caroline Jönsson siktar på OS-spel

Malmö's defender Malin Levenstad, who hurt her knee in the match against AIK last weekend, did not tear her ACL. There is damage to the ligament, but both she and her coach Jörgen Pettersson are relieved - "It could have been much worse". It will still take maybe three months before she is back in full training.
Sydsvenskan: Positivt besked för Levenstad

Foreign players update

AIK's Lisa de Vanna and Kate Gill are as well as Sunnanå's Rebecca Smith on national team assignments in Korea, playing Peace Queen Cup. Both Australia and New Zealand recieved 1-2 defeats in their opening games, against USA and South Korea respectively. Brazil is also participating in the cup, but none of the Sweden based players (Marta, Cristiane, Daniela) are going to Korea.
All three Damallsvenskan players saw action in the first match, 90 minutes for Smith and de Vanna while Gill got 15 minutes.
NZ Soccer.
Korean lightning steals Football Ferns thunder
Football Australia: Matildas push world number one USA at Peace Cup

LDB FC Malmö's Aylin Yaren is also missing out on the recent matches, attending national team camp with Turkey.

Kristianstad's new signing Alissa Oldenkamp arrived a few days ago. Unlike their two earlier foreigners, Dieke and McNeill, the club didn't know anything about her before they negotiated her contract. They are simply trusting their American contact, Oldenkamp's college coach Nancy Goffi. Goffi's Swedish connections goes back to 2004 when she played for Stattena in Damallsvenskan as Nancy Augustyniak.
Kristianstadsbladet: "Religionen är det viktigaste i mitt liv"

Bälinge's Joanna Lohman gives a farewell interview at her club's website. She reveals that the disc herniation, that has been troubling her the entire season and finally made her decide to leave the team, probably is something she'll have to manage the rest of her life. She doesn't say as much, but it sounds a little like a career ending to me.
Bälinge: Joanna Lohman interview (in English)

And I really had forgotten this, but Belgian captain Femke Maes spent some time with Djurgården in May, training with the team in some kind of  "let's get to know each other" try-out. Maes, who plays for Willem II in the Dutch league, is an offensive midfielder and has scored three goals in her last five internationals for Belgium.
No link, since I can't remember where I found it.

EDIT: Ok with help from reader Smulan, here is the link:
Djurgården: Belgisk landslagskapten på besök

Improved finances for Damallsvenskan

A year ago, the 2006 financial report for Damallsvenskan, had some worrying points. Spending was growing much faster than revenues and a couple of clubs, among them Umeå IK, showed deficits that would put them in bankrupcy if repeated. A year later, it looks much better.
The 2007 report still shows that the combined result for all Damallsvenskan clubs is negative. But the deficit is reduced to less than half (SEK 1 million compared to SEK 2,5 millions a year ago) and nine clubs had a positive result. The entire deficit is explained by AIK. The ambitious club spend SEK 2,4 millions more on their women's team than the team managed to get in revenues. No big deal for AIK as a whole though - the club made a SEK 15 million profit from their men's team.
Incomes has grown from 48,7 millions 2006 to 53,7 last year. Money from sponsors and advertisers makes up 45 % of the total revenues and is the fastest growing source of incomes.
Player wages, the biggest cost, continues to grow but at a slower rate than last year, when they doubled. The average 2007 player wage was almost SEK 55,000 a year, a 13 % increase since the year before.
Svensk Fotboll:
Analys av damallsvenskans ekonomi 2007 (pdf)

The only club that didn't manage to fullfill the requirements to be licensed for the 2009 season was Sunnanå. They have been in trouble the last few years and their figures must be out of the red by the end of August, or they will not be allowed to play in Damallsvenskan 2009.
Sunnanå's finances has been closely knit to the successes and failures of Sunnanå Utveckling, a consultant company in the human resources. The company is fully owned by the club and profits has been funneled back to the club. Lately the company has experienced financial problems, which also effects the club. The current management says it has been great to have the company, but they needs to find a way to be less dependant on the profits from it.
Västerbottens Folkblad: Dokument: Sunnanås ekonomi

Club vs Country

The 2008 Damallsvenskan has an unprecedented number of foreign players from an unprecedented number of countries. This has brought some controversy and a league table in some disarray.
It started when FIFA decided to add a protected date, for the Brazil-Ghana play-off for the Olympics, to their international match calender late in March. Since both Umeå and Linköping has Brazilian internationals on their teams, matches had to be moved. Then AIK's two Australians was called up for the Asian Cup, played in May/June and also played on FIFA protected dates, which prompted even more moved matches.
There has been some upset discussions about this. Both FIFA and the Swedish Football association has been accused of incompetence. Umeå wanted to add a few weeks at the end of the season to get room for the moved matches, since the final matches are scheduled already in the middle of October. It would have been a good suggestion, if it had been brought up before the schedule was set. Clubs that have been measuring out the contract time meticiously for their expensive foreign players wouldn't be happy if the league final suddenly was moved two weeks ahead.
AIK's sport director Peter Johansson has taken the, in my opinion, only reasonable stand on this issue. Even if he didn't hesitate to use the possibility to move matches during de Vanna's and Gill's absence, He suggested that the league schedule should be made with consideration to UEFA matches and world tournaments only. If players are called up for other protected dates, you just have to let them go and play anyway. "Chelsea didn't reschedule any matches just because Drogba played in the African Cup".

Göteborg's head coach Torbjörn Nilsson had another take on the club vs country issue, when he accused the national team's fitness tests for Lotta Schelin's prolonged thigh muscle injury. Schelin was hurt during the tests, initiated by the Olympic Committee, just prior to Algarve Cup. Nilsson heavily questioned the idea of making maximum load tests. This kind of tests are designed to strain the muscles right up to when they burst. They are dangerous and pointless, he claimed.

Apologies and some fun stuff

Yeah, that was a long break. I'm sorry about that. The month of May usually is like this; a lot of work and a lot of work-related travel. The blog being on hiatus didn't mean that I was completely cut off from the world. I still read, I just couldn't find the time and place to write. And once the break goes on for more than a week or two, the back-log grows and the urge to resume writing weakens.

Anyway, I found some fun stuff during my half-time break, that I thought I should share:

Maria Thuré
Former Bälinge midfielder (now Danmarks IF in the 1st division north) blogs at her hometown newspaper's website. Maria, who "listens to: my head coach, since it's hard to avoid" writes about football legs and summer dresses, about (not) dating local sports jocks and about the color combination chosen for the Dutch national team. I feel sorry for those of you who don't read Swedish, because you're missing out.

2. Jocasta
An American, temporarily placed in Uppsala and thus reluctant Bälinge fan, writes personal match reports from Damallsvenskan and other women's football matches. Funny, with a great eye for slightly odd details.

3. Women's Rivalry
The Women's Rivalry section of the Big Soccer boards gives you funny, witty and sometimes inappropriate banter on mainly Swedish and German football. Also a good source for non-transfer gossip about players.

Anne Mäkinen returns from international retirement

Finland's biggest star, AIK's midfielder Anne Mäkinen, has decided to return from her self-imposed international retirement. She will dress up for Finland when they play Iceland in Helsinki May 5.
She met with Finnish national team coach Mikko Käld at AIK's match against Örebro last week and he persuaded her that it was time to return. Mäkinen comments that she, after stepping down from the national team during her mother's illness and death, now feels that she has regained energy and is looking forward to playing a big championship at home in Finland, the 2009 UEFA Championships.
The other Sweden based players in Finland's team for the Iceland match are Minna Meriluoto (Umeå Södra), Petra Vaelma (Umeå Södra), Sanna Valkonen (Kif Örebro), Jessica Julin (AIK), Susanna Lehtinen (Kif Örebro), Leena Puranen (Kif Örebro), Anna-Kaisa Rantanen (Linköpings FC), Annica Sjölund (AIK) and Linda Sällström (Djurgården)

Damfotboll.com: Anne Mäkinen gör come-back i landslaget
Yle: Mäkinen i Kälds landslag

Long injury rehab for Hanna Ljungberg

Umeå and Sweden star forward Hanna Ljungberg has once again suffered an early season injury. At training last Tuesday an old tendon injury came back. She will have to spend at least four weeks with rehab training before she can play again. She will not compete in Sweden's Euro qualifiers in early May and even the UEFA Women's Cup finals against German FFC Frankfurt may be in jeopardy.
Ljungberg has had her last two seasons destroyed by early season injuries and she has been very cautious in training and playing playing matches this spring, trying to avoid a repetition of that. Unfortunately without success, it seems.
Ljungberg kan missa Women´s Cup-finalerna

Linköpings FC, who was some kind of injury central last year with no less than four ACL injuries on key players, has suffered another serious injury. 17 years old defense talent Maria Svensson, signed late last year, tore her anterior cruciate ligament during a training match earlier this week. The common rehab period after such an injury is six months.
Corren: Korsbandet var av på LFC:s backtalang

Sunnanå's Nigerian striker Perpetua Nkwocha is quaranteened with chicken-pox and will not probably not play the match against AIK this weekend. There are also uncertainties for key defender Alexandra Nilsson, who had to leave the match against Sunnanå after a rough tackle.
Norra Västerbotten: Peppe och Alex kan missa AIK

Women's Cup semifinal: Lyon arrives and Hanna Ljungberg still ill

Hanna Ljungberg hasn't managed to get rid of the cold that kept her home for the Lyon leg of the UEFA Women's Cup semifinal and will probably not dress for the Sunday game. Goalkeeper Ulla-Karin Rönnlund, who had a great match in Lyon, also seems to have caught a cold and is unsure as a starter.
Sjukt inför Lyon - oklart om Ulla-Karin vaktar målet

Lyon arrived on Friday at noon, coming on a chartered jet directly from Lyon, and getting picked up by their team bus. The entire squad is reported to be healthy and fit and trained on Umeå's artificial turf field yesterday afternoon.
Västerbottens Folkblad: Lyon på plats i Umeå

Umeå IK's coach Andrée Jeglertz said at the official press conference, that even if Umeå had the upper hand after the match in Lyon, Umeå will not chose to hold back and try to defend - they never do that. Instead Jeglertx pointed out a few key details in their play, among those giving better support to the full-backs when Lyon advances on the wings, higher and more aggressive defense and more movement in the attack.
Västerbottens Folkblad: Jeglertz surnade till på sena fransyskor

Lyon's flexing of their financial muscles - chartering a jet to take them directly from Lyon to Umeå and driving the (empty) team bus all the way from France (some 2500 kilometers one-way) just to take care of the local transports in Umeå - has impressed a lot in Umeå. Umeå's manager Roland Arnqvist even commented that this predicts the future of women's football in Europe and thus the downfall of the Swedish dominance: "When one of the big clubs commits themselves like this, it's only a matter of time before others follows", he said. Umeå IK operates on a budget between SEK 10-15 millions, a normal wage for an average male player in the big European clubs. They have resources that Umeå cannot compete with. Arnquist continues "When this happens, we will be standing on the platform, watching the train leave. And I don't think that day is that far away". He still doesn't think that is a bad thing: "Even if it will be harder for Damallsvenskan to compete internationally, it will be good for the sport."
Västerbottenskuriren: Storklubbarna ett hot mot damallsvenskan

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