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Soccer: Salzburg is building a women’s team

With runners-up Sturm Graz, Wiener Austria and SCR Altach, which works in a syndicate with FFC Vorderland, three clubs from the Admiral Bundesliga men are currently also represented in the Planet Pure women’s Bundesliga. It was only this year that Rapid followed suit, targeting summer 2024 as the entry point. Now, at least in the medium term, the League Croesus is also showing concrete commitment in the adult sector.

From the 2023/24 season, an under-16 selection from FC Bergheim, also regulars in the Planet Pure Liga, will initially appear with the “bulls” logo on their jerseys. A year later, a U20 team is to be founded to serve as a supplier for the Bergheim women’s Bundesliga team. In the medium term, Red Bull Salzburg should then play with their own selection in the upper house.

IMAGO/Sports Press Photo/Sven Beyrich/SPP

Bergheim, here Chiara Lapuste in action, is the partner for Salzburg’s ambitions

“We evaluated women’s and girls’ football in Salzburg for a long time. 1,200 are currently playing football in the state. Our intention is to push the development of women’s football, analogous to the orientation of our club, and only then go into professionalization,” Salzburg’s sports director Christoph Freund already confirmed to the “SN”. In order to successfully implement the project, a six-figure amount is to be invested in the women’s area every year. Bergheim is the ideal partner because the club has already done “an excellent job”.

“Sustainable on a healthy basis”

And the plans are ambitious. Bergheim will be supported with training know-how, analysis tools, medical equipment and in the field of physiotherapy. In cooperation with the Bundesliga clubs, a football academy is to be set up for young women based on the boys’ example. “In doing so, we rely on the same philosophy as with the boys at the Red Bull Football Academy, where we have had excellent experiences,” Freund is quoted as saying.

According to the sporting director, building a powerful Salzburg team should be sustainable. In other words, the “bulls” don’t want to conquer the Bundesliga with their financial power like a swarm of locusts by buying the best players away from the other clubs. “Our goal is not just to be there and fulfill a duty. No, we also want to develop players in women’s soccer and be successful in the long term,” said Freund in a broadcast on Thursday.

ÖFB team boss hopes for a magnet effect

With their entry, the Salzburgers are complying with a demand that has been made by many sides for a long time. Because, of all people, the series champion and internationally most successful club in the recent past turned a deaf ear when it came to women and football. “There is no question that it would have a magnetic effect, especially in the state of Salzburg, where there are few opportunities anyway,” said ÖFB team boss Irene Fuhrmann recently to ORF.at.

In the Red Bull Group itself, women’s teams have not been ignored so far. A separate department was installed at the company-supported RasenBallsport Leipzig in 2016/17. The club has been playing in the second German Bundesliga for two years. According to Freund, the reason why people in Salzburg are only now discovering their “female side” is the rise of men: “We concentrated on that with all our strength. Now we feel ready and also see the right time to take this step.”

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