Marta and Umeå IK come to Finland

Pre-season friendlies are well underway now, and there seems to be a glut of trans-bothnian fixtures this week. TPS drew 0-0 with AIK Solna today, but the bigger and more interesting story is the arrival of Umeå IK in Vaasa. They played a friendly against FC Sport yesterday at Botniahalli, winning 11-0, but the story followed by all the major Finnish media outlets was Marta.

There wasn’t really much point to the questions she was asked in her press conference, but we established that her Swedish is good, she has wanted to be the best player in the world all her life, and she trains very hard. Marta the superstar was approached as part of a promotional exercise for the women’s game, and Hanna Ljungberg – pretty much a legend in her own right – was sat around like a spare part in the Pohjolainen video.

She didn’t even get on the news in YLE’s report. Seemed a bit odd, really – Marta is amazing, but we could ask about the team, and the Swedish national side, who will of course be in Finland for the European Championships in 2009. It seemed like an opportunity to build name recognition that will be vital in shifting tickets in a year’s time.

Ljungberg, you may remember, was scouted by Perugia when they wanted to be the first side to field a woman in a men’s team. LA Galaxy have since approached Marta with the same aim, but for now she will stay in Sweden and earn around €10,000 a month after signing a contract for 2008.

I won’t even attempt the usual comparisons between the game in Sweden and Finland as I didn’t see the game and the gulf should be apparent from the scoreline and the wages already mentioned. No players at Finnish women’s teams are professional so if they want to earn a living from football they move abroad, and most of the national team are based outside Finland.

I found a fantastic English language resource while researching this post, the Damallsvenskan blog. Highly recommended.

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2 Responses

  1. http://www.iltasanomat.fi/verotiedot/2006/kategoria.asp?katid=79

    There are the yearly salaries of a few coaches and players in 2006. The average yearly wage for finnish footballers is probably about 15 000 – 20 000 euros.

  2. That’s good to know, but I was talking about the women’s game. I’ll edit the post now to make that clearer.

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