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Football associations target female referees with new digital campaign

Gothenburg Football Association and the Swedish Football Association are focusing on encouraging more girls and women to train as football referees. Their Plus 10,000 initiative demonstrates just how seriously the question of gender equality is being taken. As preparations are under way for the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final at Gamla Ullevi arena on 16 May, the associations are taking the opportunity to launch a digital campaign – primarily via social media.

Referee Tess Olofsson during the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship. Photo: Harold Cunningham/UEFA.

Plus 10,000 is a national initiative from the Swedish Football Association which aims to increase the number of women involved in football. The goal is to inspire and encourage more women to join the football family. This involves having more girls and women in different positions both on and off the pitch, as coaches, referees, board and committee members, chairs and management team members, and in other roles within clubs and associations.

As part of this national initiative, Göteborg & Co – part of the City of Gothenburg – and Gothenburg Football Association are doing their bit as key players within Plus 10,000. The first of four initiatives has been named ‘Become a referee’, and aims to encourage girls and women to train and focus on becoming referees. It doesn’t matter whether their ambition is to referee matches at lower amateur levels or whether they set their sights high and dream about refereeing a Champions League final one day. Everyone is welcome.

The hashtag Equal Goals Gothenburg (#equalgoalsgothenburg) is being used to promote a more equal game in which everyone is welcome, whatever their gender, age or background.

One particularly passionate female referee is Tess Olofsson. Tess is a role model and an inspiration who has previously refereed for the men’s Division 1 and the OBOS Damallsvenskan women’s league. In October 2020, she became the first woman to referee in the Superettan league – the second highest men’s division. A few weeks later she was named Referee of the Year 2020 at the Swedish Football Gala, and also earned elite classification recently which means that Superettan will be her ‘home league’ for the year.

“I’ve been passionate about refereeing football matches for as long as I can remember, and I’m thrilled about getting started with the season and working hard to establish myself in the Superettan league,” says Tess. “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.”

To find out more or to register, visit: https://www.svenskfotboll.se/becomeareferee/