Vattenfall teams up with AFC to send Dons’ youth squad to Gothenburg and sponsors North-east girls’ grassroots league
The Dons’ under-17 squad is set for a taste of Gothenburg glory with Aberdeen Football Club (AFC) and Swedish energy firm Vattenfall signing a deal to help send them to the world’s largest youth football tournament, the Gothia Cup.
The deal, which has also been signed with Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust (AFCCT), will see wind energy developer Vattenfall becoming headline sponsor for the local girls’ grassroots league in Aberdeen City and Shire as well. The league involves 40 U7/U9/U11 teams and provides weekly football for more than 400 players and 100 coaches and volunteers across the region.
Together, the innovative partnership between Vattenfall, AFC and AFCCT is believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland to support football at a local level. And the announcement comes on the day of the 34thanniversary of the Dons’ legendary Gothenburg victory on May 11, 1983.
AFC’s under-17 squad will fly out to Gothenburg in July as one of only 12 academies from outwith Sweden invited to compete in the elite section of the Gothia Cup. Previous winners of the elite section include Everton, Wolverhampton and Santos Laguna.
The annual tournament, which runs from July 16 to 22, is the world’s largest and most international youth football competition with around 1600 teams from 80 nations taking part each year and involving 4500 games on 110 fields.
Gothenburg Great and head of AFC’s Youth Academy, Neil Simpson, said: “This fantastic partnership with Vattenfall and AFC will give our talented young players the opportunity to participate in this prestigious tournament. The city of Gothenburg holds special memories for myself and Aberdeen Football Club so I am looking forward to joining the squad on the trip. We have a strong group of players in this squad so we have a realistic chance to win the Cup like we did in 1983.”
Adam Ezzamel, project director for Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) project, off Aberdeen Bay, said: “We look forward to working collaboratively with AFC and AFCCT to promote and support opportunities in sports, leadership and youth development for the region’s next generation of talent in football and beyond.
“AFC and AFCCT are at the heart of communities across the region and through Vattenfall developing the cutting-edge EOWDC, which positions the North-east at the fore of the development of clean green energy, we see lots of synergies between sport, energy, science and technology that we can build upon.
“As a global company which is headquartered in Sweden, it is also very fitting that Vattenfall is sending some of the best young prospects in Scottish football to Gothenburg to showcase their skills as the Aberdeen team famously did back in 83.”
Harley Hamdani, Diversity & Inclusion Officer at AFCCT, stated “The headline sponsorship deal with Vattenfall will enable more girls in the North East of Scotland to enjoy football in a positive and fun learning environment. By working closely with grassroots clubs and coaches we aim to ensure long-term sustainability. The support provided by Vattenfall over the next year signifies a big step towards this, while also providing the platform to further raise the profile of girl’s football.”
AFC u17s Captain Dean Campbell, said: “We are really grateful to Vattenfall for making this trip possible. All the players are looking forward to competing in this exciting international tournament. Being a lifelong Aberdeen supporter, I know all about the history of the club and the great European success in Gothenburg. It would give me and my teammates great pleasure to repeat that marvellous success and win the Gothia Cup.”
Scottish FA Girls & Women’s Club Development Officer, Joanne Murphy, added: “We are currently going through a great period in Women’s Football. With the success of the Scottish Women’s National Team, and now the support of Vattenfall as the headline sponsor for the North Region Girls Football League, we hope to inspire a new generation of female footballers and continue to grow the girl’s game.”