Swedish women’s champions Kopparbergs/Goteborg will be ceasing first-team operations in 2021, barely a couple of months after winning the Damallsvenskan for the first time ever.
Goteborg will retain junior teams up to Under-19 level, but the first team will be no more and the Kopparbergs brewery, known internationally for its cider, is no longer investing.
Investment from Kopparbergs first came in 2003, leading to a re-branding of the club soon after and establishing it as one of the premier women’s teams in Sweden.
Legendary former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo played for the club during the 2004 season, while two-time World Cup winner Christen Press scored almost a goal per game in 2012, and 2019 World Cup winner Emily Sonnett also spent the latter half of the 2020 season with the club.
Swedish legend Lotta Schelin was at Goteborg before Kopparbergs joined the party and remained for several years after until she was poached by emerging French giants Lyon. Other current Sweden internationals like Stina Blackstenius and Elin Rubensson still remain, with the sudden closure of the first team sure to create a rush to sign up a number of talented players.
The decision, which was made almost two weeks ago on 17 December before the news was made public, appears to have been quite sudden. The club announced the signing of midfielder Johanna Rytting Kaneryd from domestic rivals Rosengard just three days earlier, while there appeared to be a general optimism for 2021 in posts on the club’s website.
Instead, chairman Peter Bronsman has told local publication Goteborgs-Posten that it is too difficult to continue from a financial sense and has called on Sweden’s bigger men’s clubs to take over.
Although there was talk of a merger a few year ago, Kopparbergs/Goteborg are completely independent from famous men’s club IFK Goteborg, who have since started their own women’s team. The hope is that all the local men’s clubs with newer women’s teams – including Hacken, Ois and Gais – will fill the void left behind once they arrive in the Damallsvenskan from lower leagues.
“Now that the other men's teams in Gothenburg are opening up activities for the girls as well, we think they should take the baton,” Bronsman said.
“Of course, the men's Swedish teams will keep up with the trend that is going on in Europe. A women's team will not have a chance otherwise,” he added, referring to the new women’s teams at clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid and the general acceleration of wider development.
“Our basic idea would have been to invest in younger players. Each club must have both men's and women's teams. You will not only have women's teams in 2021.”
Bronsman’s primary concerns appears to be that Kopparbergs/Goteborg had done all they could in an ever-changing environment and that last season’s Swedish title was ultimately the perfect way for the club to bow out on top.
“At present, we have 17 players who have won the Damallsvenskan, they finished positively by winning and have been role models for girls. We do not think we can give them that opportunity to win in Europe,” he explained.
“I feel that I have made a decision that is sad for the moment, but just the right decision to develop women's football. We become redundant. It's sad, but true. The first priority will be for the players to get new clubs. They will probably develop even more in other clubs.”