Umeå to expand stadium for UEFA final

Women's football has long been a crowd-pleaser in Umeå, and such has been the interest in next month's UEFA Women’s Cup final that Sweden's most successful club has sought permission to construct an additional temporary stand. Umeå IK will meet London club Arsenal in the first leg of the final on April 21st and already the club has sold more than 4,000 tickets.

“If we get approval from UEFA the capacity would increase from 8,000 to around 11,000,” spokeswoman Susanne Granberg told The Local.

Should football’s governing body look favourably on the application, it will be the largest ever attendance for a women’s football match in Sweden.

“Arsenal is a famous name and interest is huge,” said Granberg.

Umeå IK have already taken the prestigious European title twice. The most recent victory came in 2004, when the club recorded a thumping 8-0 aggregate victory over Frankfurt. But staff and fans were somewhat disappointed at having to play the Swedish leg in Stockholm, rather than 640km north of the capital at Gammliavallen stadium.

On Monday, some of the world’s finest players, including Marta from Brazil and Sweden’s own Hanna Ljungberg, were joined by new signing Ma Xiaoxu. The Chinese striker has been described as the female equivalent to Wayne Rooney.

“Yes, she arrived yesterday. I haven’t spoken to the coach yet but she will be ready to play the final if selected,” said Granberg.