For the first time four Swedish female football players will be honored with an identical statue each in scale 1:1 in cement. The statues are part of the initiative Football Forevher which Coca-Cola is launching together with The Swedish Football Association to increase visibility of female football players.
The purpose with the initiative is to influence attitudes and increase the engagement for women’s football. The football stars who have had their statues created are the national team players Kosovare Asllani, Nilla Fischer, Hedvig Lindahl and Caroline Seger. The statues will be visible in different locations across Sweden during the summer.
Many Swedish female football players are world class within their sport, but several of them are unknown to the public. One explanation is the lack of stardom and visibility for female football players; if women are not visible or not marketed as stars then they will never be recognized as stars.
Coca-Cola has, in partnership with The Swedish Football Association and Isobar, in advance of this summer’s World Cup in France, created statues of four female players to celebrate the female national team and thereby increase the visibility for the players.
The objective with Football Forevher is to positively influence opinions and increase the engagement for women’s football by giving the players increased visibility. One of the key factors to achieve equality in Swedish football is to put female football stars in the spotlight that they ought to have.
“It was a given decision for us to request an equal sponsorship agreement with The Swedish Football Association. As a sponsor we feel it is our responsibility to influence and drive positive change to achieve an equal football in Sweden. Sweden’s female national team is a pride to all Swedes and we are grateful to be able to expose our brand together with these amazing football stars. Our ambition is that the statues will increase the visibility for female football players and have a positive impact on football in Sweden,” says Olivia Enquist, Head of Marketing, Coca- Cola AB.
“More female football players need to be recognized and celebrated to enjoy the stardom of football. We are amid a positive change. By working together to achieve an equal football in Sweden we can influence a change attitudes, increase the attention and the engagement for women’s football. It is a powerful feeling to be part of this. I feel so proud to have been selected as one of the first statues ever created of female footballers in Sweden and to be part of the initiative Football Forevher” says Caroline Seger, football star and captain for the Swedish national team.
“One of the most important issues on The Swedish Football Association’s agenda is to increase equality. All women and men, girls and boys should have the same premises to play football. We see a positive change, but there is much to be improved. One important action that we can do together with our partners is to influence the common picture of football in Sweden, to give our female national football players more visibility and give them stardom. That is how we will increase the commercial value for women’s football. Football Forevher is an initiative that actively contributes to this in a bold and clear way” says Håkan Sjöstrand, President of The Swedish Football Association.
To secure the growth development and professionalization of women’s football it is essential that the players get visibility in media, in journalistic coverage and bought advertisement, according to scientific research. In Sweden sportswomen have 20 percent of the media coverage.
“A frequent explanation to why female football players ‘deserve’ the lack of attention and poor economic compensation is due to the lack of demand from the market. But to achieve an equal football and to influence the market value there must be a change in attitudes, that sportswomen and sportsmen are equally valued. The public, media and sponsors collectively affect how women’s football is perceived through actions, recognitions and choice of language. What is required is a behavioral change of attitudes to transform visibility and interest. Only then will stardom become legitimate for female football players,” says Mattias Melkersson, PhD in Sports science, University of Malmö.
The four statues where showcased for the first time outside the football arena, Gamla Ullevi, in Gothenburg the 31st of May, when Sweden played South Korea in the final friendly game before the World Cup. After that the statues will make a tour through Sweden including a visit in each players’ home town.