The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 is coming to Germany
Monday 7, February 2011
Aside from two group matches and a semi-final, the metropolis on the Main will also be hosting the grand final. And reaching the final is of course the goal of every footballer! Meanwhile, Frankfurt has also prepared a very special programme of events to accompany the Women’s World Cup.
This year, Frankfurt will experience its second “summer fairytale”, with players and fans from all across the globe coming to town to follow the progress of their teams. Aside from supporting the German national team, Frankfurt will also find itself splashed in the colours of the teams and fans from Brazil, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, who are scheduled to play matches here. Frankfurt also has something in store for those without tickets to a game. For the duration of the World Cup, locals and visitors of Frankfurt will have the chance to come together at the Frankfurt Football Gardens, a special fan festival setting up camp down at the southern banks of the River Main between Untermainbrücke (Lower Main Bridge) and Holbeinsteg (Holbein Footbridge). A colourful activity programme for the entire family will be put on show here during the three weeks of the tournament.
Football fans will be able to follow the matches of their teams on two large screens floating on pontoons in the middle of the river. These pontoons are flexible in their use and may be adapted to meet the requirements of the visiting fans.
The Frankfurt Football Gardens will be worth a visit even when no matches are being played. Aside from the vast summer gardens offering regional as well as international cuisine, there will also be various activity programmes, live music and stage performances on offer, all held in front of the beautiful backdrop of the Frankfurt skyline. Admission to the Frankfurt Football Gardens is of course free of charge.
As an overture to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011TM in Germany, Frankfurt am Main will be welcoming football fans with a spectacular event held on the evening before the opening match. On Saturday, 25th June 2011, the River Main will be transformed into a gigantic multimedia show. The magic, elegance, poetry, drama and passion of football will be put on display by way of an exciting mixture of live performances, videos, light, sound and pyrotechnics.
But the heart of women’s football won’t be beating in Frankfurt just for the three weeks of the Women’s World Cup. Quite the contrary! Frankfurt is in fact the heartland of women’s football in Germany. For proof positive, one need only look at the successes achieved by Frankfurt’s two women’s football teams since the inception of the Bundesliga in 1990/91:
FSV Frankfurt won the German Cup in 1990, 1992, 1995 and 1996, winning the double, i.e., cup and league championship, in 1995. A further league title was added to the trophy cabinet in 1998.
The FFC ladies, meanwhile, have achieved even greater success, winning the German league title in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. They also took the German Cup in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, while winning the international UEFA Cup in 2002. The number of national team players representing FSV Frankfurt and SG Praunheim, two clubs that later amalgamated into the 1st FFC Frankfurt, is equally impressive. Since 1990, a total of 39 players have at one time or another worn the colours of the German national team, winning the World Cup in 2003 while adding six European Championship titles along the way.
The pioneer of women’s football in Germany was also a Frankfurt native. Back in 1930, Lotte Specht, the daughter of a local butcher and an ardent supporter of FSV Frankfurt, placed an ad in the papers in an effort to find other women interested in playing football. That same year, the 1st German Ladies Football Club (1st DDFC) was founded at a local Frankfurt tavern, the “Steinerne Haus”. The tavern still exists, offering guests finest traditional fare and of course the popular Frankfurt apple wine.
At first, the general public was opposed to the idea of women’s football; on many occasions, the 1st DDFC simply could not find other teams to play. In 1955, the DFB (German Football Federation, headquartered in Frankfurt) went as far as to prohibit women’s football entirely. Only some 15 years later, on 31st October 1970, did the DFB finally rescind its decision and introduce specific rules for the organisation of women’s football. Initially, the women’s game differed from the men’s version. Matches lasted only 60 minutes, the ball was smaller and the winter break longer. With time, these rules were repealed. The women’s game was extended to last the full 90 minutes some 11 years ago. Now, in 2011, Frankfurt am Main will show the world that women’s football is able to excite fans all across the globe. So whatever you do, make sure you’re here in time for kick-off!
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