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Monday, July 27, 2015

WOMEN'S EURO 2013 - THE STADIA

"Small but perfectly formed" was the mantra as far as the stadia used during the Women's 2013 European Championship were concerned. Seven stadia were used, and with the exception of the Friends Arena in Solna, venue for the final between Germany and Norway, and the Gåmla Ullevi in Göteborg, the capacity of any given stadium was no more than 12000.

FRIENDS ARENA, SOLNA: Just about everybody reading this will remember Zlatan Ibrahimovic's audacious strike for Sweden against England in the first-ever football match to be held at the Friends Arena on 14/11/12, but the stadium was officially opened just over two weeks earlier, on 27/10/12.

Work on the stadium, which was originally called the Swedbank Arena, commenced in May 2009, and the name changed in March 2012 when Swedbank "donated" the stadium's naming rights to Friends, a Swedish anti-bullying charity with which it is heavily involved. The Friends Arena is co-owned by the Svenska Fotbollförbundet (the Swedish FA), Solna city council and a number of Swedish companies.

The stadium, which is all-seater and mulit-purpose with a retractable roof, has a capacity of 50000 for football and bandy matches, but can hold up to 75000 people. There are 26 executive boxes, the largest of which can hold 150 people. It is also used as a venue for conferences and exhibitions, large and small, and contains a number of bars, restaurants and fast-food kiosks. There is even a ring-road underneath the stadium to facilitate the transportation of equipment used in constructing stages and sets.

MYRESJÖHUS/VÄXJÖ ARENA, VÄXJÖ: This small yet attractive stadium, completed in August 2012, hosted four matches during the tournament, and has a total capacity of 12000 people, of which 10000 are seated. The stadium is largely constructed of materials which have been locally sourced, such as glass and wood, and it is situated only a 15-minute walk from the centre of Växjö, which hosted the city's Fan Zone.

The stadium's restaurant has a seating capacity of 500, while there is also a members' lounge and supporters' pub. For those with a few krona to spare and guests in tow, there are also 16 executive boxes, each with a capacity of 10 people. The pitch itself measures 105 metres by 68 metres, and the surface consists entirely of natural grass.



Vaxjö/Myresjöhus Arena (Vaxjö)
(Image supplied courtesy of Henrik Nilsson, Växjö & Co)

NYA PARKEN, NORRKÖPING: The Nya Parken, situated in the city of Norrköping, dates from 1903 and was renovated on a number of occasions, most notably for the 1992 European Championship before it was rebuilt in 2009 with a current capacity of around 16000.

The ground, known to supporters of the three clubs which share the ground (IFK Norrköping, IF Sylvia and IK Sleipner) simply as "Parken," has seating on three sides, with terracing on its south side. Nya Parken has 16 executive boxes, 3 bars and 2 restaurants, and occasionally hosts concerts in its indoor sports arena stroke training area (Teknikhallen).

The pitch has an artificial surface, but this was temporarily removed before the Women's Euro 2013 to enable a grass pitch to be laid in its place until after the tournament ended. IFK Norrköping bought Nya Parken from the local council in 2010.

GULDFÅGELN ARENA, KALMAR: The south-eastern city of Kalmar played host to four matches during the Women's Euro 2013, and they took place in the Guldfågeln Arena, which has a capacity of 10696 (all seated) but which can rise to 15000 to accommodate concerts. The ground was opened in March 2011 and was jointly financed by local Allsvenskan club Kalmar FF and the local council.

The
Guldfågeln Arena also has a pub with a seated capacity of 300, a lounge which can potentially host 1000 people, executive boxes and a restaurant. Journalists are also well catered for; 50 people can fit into the press-box, and there is also an on-site television studio.

Guldfågeln Arena (Kalmar)
(Image supplied courtesy of Anders Bengtsson, Kalmar FF)

GÅMLA ULLEVI, GÖTEBORG/GOTHENBURG: Before Aberdeen fans get all misty-eyed at the very mention of Gothenburg's Ullevi Stadium, scene of The Dons' victory in the 1983 Cup-Winners' Cup final against Real Madrid, in this article, it should be pointed out that the Ullevi Stadium which hosted that particular game is officially known as the Nya Ullevi (or New Ullevi), and was built with the 1958 World Cup in mind.

A stone's throw away from the Nya Ullevi is the Gåmla Ullevi, or Old Ullevi, the original incarnation of which dates from 1916, but which was razed in 2007 and completely rebuilt; the new version of the stadium was completed in 2009 and has a seated capacity of 16596 (the overall capacity is 18416).

The stadium is home to the "Gothenburg Alliance;" in other words, the city's three biggest clubs, IFK Göteborg, GAIS and Örgryte IS. Gåmla Ullevi is also the national stadium as far as Swedish women's football is concerned.

Facility-wise, the stadium has 2 restaurants and 27 executive boxes; the pitch itself has a natural grass surface and measures 105 metres by 68 metres. Gåmla Ullevi is situated pretty much slap-bang in Gothenburg city-centre and is just a five-minute walk from the city's main train station.

Gamla Ullevi (Göteborg)
(Illustrator: CAP AB; image supplied courtesy of Hanna Bergendahl, Gamla Ullevi)

ARENA LINKÖPING, LINKÖPING: The Arena Linköping, situated in the city after which the stadium was named, is a very recent phenomenon and its construction was only completed some four months ahead of the start of the Women's Euro 2013.

The 8300 capacity stadium was the smallest venue to play host to the tournament, and it is unique in that, immediately the Women's Euro 2013 reached its conclusion, it became the home for the city's main football team, Linköpings FC..which plays in the top-flight of Swedish women's football.


                                                                Arena Linköping (Linköping)
(Illustration courtesy of Moghtadan Moghtadai, Botrygg)

ÖRJANS VALL, HALMSTAD: This is perhaps the only ground out of the seven used for the Women's Euro 2013 which still looks pretty much like it did when it was built back in 1922. Owned by Halmstad city council and built to help alleviate unemployment in the area, Örjans Vall was officially opened on 30/07/22 by Crown Prince Gustav Adolf. The ground was named after a hospital dating from mediæval times - St. Örjan's Hospital - which had been built where the entrance to the stadium now lay.

The stadium was the venue for two matches in the 1958 World Cup, both featuring Northern Ireland, and possessed an athletics track until the 1980s. (Its outline can still be seen from above.) It is currently home to two teams, Halmstads BK and IS Halmia, and has a capacity of 15500, and possesses two restaurants and a pub. 

Halmstad city council is due to begin to renovate much of the stadium in the autumn of 2015, with particular emphasis on basically rebuilding the main stand to include new press facilities, a VIP lounge and better facilities for disabled supporters. The project is expected to reach completion next summer.

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to the individuals named in the above article who contributed information on - and images of - some of the stadiums covered in said piece. Other information was taken from the various websites related to the stadiums themselves, and, where appropriate the relevant city councils and football clubs.





                                                                        

Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 NATWEST ISLAND GAMES: GUERNSEY WIN THEIR THIRD MEN'S TITLE

Guernsey claimed their third men's NatWest Island Games title at the beginning of July when they defeated the Isle of Man 3:0 to conclude the fourteenth edition of the tournament, which was hosted by the island of Jersey. It was Guernsey's third victory in an Island Games final and their first since 2003, when they beat the Manxmen 3:1 whilst hosting the Games. Menorca beat the Shetland Islands in the third-place play-off to record their best-ever finish in the tournament. The Spaniards qualified for the semi-finals on goal-difference from Greenland, who went on to finish fifth after they won by the odd goal in three against the Isle of Wight. Hosts Jersey, meanwhile, disappointed the home support somewhat by finishing seventh overall, and achieving that position came courtesy of a 1:0 victory over Ynys Môn.

Sixteen teams took part in this edition, two of which - Greenland and the Falkland Islands - participated in the previous tournament, which was held in Bermuda in 2013. Curiously, the Isle of Man, the home of the Island Games, where the first gathering - which featured a 5-a-side tournament - was held back in 1985, have never won the competition. They, and everyone else, will have to focus their attention on the next tournament, which is scheduled to take place in Gotland in 2017.

Please find below the results from the fourteenth edition of the NatWest Island Games men's football tournament.

GROUP A

Åland, Greenland, Menorca, Saaremaa

28/06/15 12:30 Greenland 2:2 Menorca (Le Boulivot)
28/06/15 16:30 Saaremaa 1:2 Åland (Le Boulivot)
29/06/15 12:30 Åland 0:2 Greenland (Le Couffardiere)
29/06/15 16:30 Menorca 3:0 Saaremaa (Le Couffardiere)
30/06/15 15:00 Åland 1:3 Menorca (Le Couffardiere)
30/06/15 15:00 Greenland 2:1 Saaremaa (Le Boulivot)



TEAM
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
GD
MENORCA
3
2
1
0
8
3
7
5
Greenland
3
2
1
0
6
3
7
3
Åland
3
1
0
2
3
6
3
-3
Saaremaa
3
0
0
3
2
7
0
-5


GROUP B

Gibraltar, Gotland, Guernsey, Ynys Môn

28/06/15 13:30 Gibraltar 2:1 Gotland (Rue des Vignes)
28/06/15 17:30 Ynys Môn 2:5 Guernsey (Rue des Vignes)
29/06/15 13:30 Guernsey 3:0 Gotland (Le Squendez)
29/06/15 14:00 Gibraltar 1:1 Ynys Môn (Springfield Stadium)
30/06/15 13:00 Gotland 2:3 Ynys Môn (Rue des Vignes)
30/06/15 13:00 Gibraltar 0:4 Guernsey (Springfield Stadium) 



TEAM
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
GD
GUERNSEY
3
3
0
0
12
2
9
10
Ynys Môn
3
1
1
1
6
8
4
-2
Gibraltar
3
1
1
1
3
6
4
-3
Gotland
3
0
0
3
3
8
0
-5


GROUP C

Falkland Islands, Hitra, Isle of Wight, Shetland Islands

28/06/15 16:30 Falkland Islands 2:1 Hitra (St. John's Recreation Ground)
28/06/15 16:30 Shetland Islands 0:0 Isle of Wight (Le Couvent)
29/06/15 17:30 Isle of Wight 3:0 Falkland Islands (La Cache es Fresnes)
29/06/15 17:30 Hitra 1:4 Shetland Islands (Le Squendez)
30/06/15 16:30 Isle of Wight 3:1 Hitra (Le Couvent)
30/06/15 16:30 Falkland Islands 0:5 Shetland Islands (Rue des Vignes)



TEAM
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
GD
SHETLAND ISLANDS
3
2
1
0
9
1
7
8
Isle of Wight
3
2
1
0
6
1
7
5
Falkland Islands
3
1
0
2
2
9
3
-7
Hitra
3
0
0
3
3
9
0
-6


GROUP D

Alderney, Isle of Man, Jersey, Western Isles

28/06/15 13:00 Western Isles 0:9 Isle of Man (Le Couvent)
28/06/15 13:00 Jersey 6:0 Alderney (Springfield Stadium)
29/06/15 13:30 Isle of Man 7:0 Alderney (La Cache es Fresnes)
29/06/15 18:00 Jersey 3:0 Western Isles (Springfield Stadium)
30/06/15 18:00 Jersey 1:2 Isle of Man (Springfield Stadium)
30/06/15 18:00 Alderney 2:3 Western Isles (St. John's Recreation Ground)



TEAM
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
GD
ISLE OF MAN
3
3
0
0
18
1
9
17
Jersey
3
2
0
1
10
2
6
8
Western Isles
3
1
0
2
3
14
3
-11
Alderney
3
0
0
3
2
16
0
-14



PLACING (PLAY-OFF) MATCHES

5TH/6TH PLACE PLAY-OFF

02/07/15 16:00 Isle of Wight 1:2 Greenland (Le Couffardiere)

7TH/8TH PLACE PLAY-OFF

02/07/15 12:00 Jersey 1:0 Ynys Môn (Le Couffardiere)

9TH/10TH PLACE PLAY-OFF


02/07/15 13:30 Åland 0:0 Gibraltar (Le Squendez) (Åland win 6:5 on penalties)

11TH/12TH PLACE PLAY-OFF

02/07/15 17:30 Falkland Islands 1:2 Western Isles (Le Squendez)

13TH/14TH PLACE PLAY-OFF

02/07/15 12:00 Saaremaa 3:2 Gotland (La Cache es Fresnes)

15TH/16TH PLACE PLAY-OFF

02/07/15 16:00 Hitra 5:1 Alderney (La Cache es Fresnes)


SEMI-FINALS 

02/07/15 14:00 Menorca 1:2 Guernsey (Springfield Stadium)
02/07/15 18:00 Shetland Islands 1:3 Isle of Man (Springfield Stadium)


THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF 

03/07/15 12:00 Menorca 1:0 Shetland Islands (Rue des Vignes)


FINAL


03/07/15 14:00 Guernsey 3:0 Isle of Man (Springfield Stadium)


LIST OF GROUNDS/STADIA 

Springfield Stadium (St. Helier)
Rue des Vignes (St. Peter)
Le Squendez (St. Brelade)
Le Couffardiere (St. Clement)
St. John's Recreational Ground (St. John)
Le Boulivot (Grouville)
Le Couvent (St. Lawrence)
La Cache es Fresnes (St. Ouen) 

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to IIGA general secretary Andy Varnon for his permission to reproduce the above fixture-list, and, by extension, the results.