Swedish league champions Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC have announced they are going to fold their senior squad just one month after they won their first league title.
The announcement means that all players, including nine internationals, will be released from their contracts.
The side recently lost to Manchester City in the Champions League last-32 and the decision was taken after the second leg of that tie on Dec. 17 to dissolve the side.
Staff were told of the decision on Tuesday.
“My opinion and that of the board is that having a women’s elite team is not compatible with 2021,” the club’s chairman Peter Bronsman told Goteborgs-Posten.
“The big four men’s teams have their own women’s teams. We have done what we promised. We have created a lot of role models and got a lot of [girls] to start playing football.”
The side was formed in 2003 and since then four other clubs have formed in the city — IFK Goteborg, BK Hacken, Ois and Gais.
Bronsman, who is also CEO of Kopparbergs which was the club’s sponsor, also added that it was impossible to compete with the bigger teams in Europe, such as City and Bayern Munich, who are attached to established men’s sides.
Despite not being attached to an established club, the side have attracted numerous big names over the years including USWNT’s Christen Press, Hope Solo and Yael Averbuch.
“Really sad news from my former club. I loved playing for this club and they’ve historically been a top club in Europe,” Averbuch tweeted.
“Goes to show how fragile the women’s game is that a club in Champions League can no longer compete.”
The club’s media manager Tore Lund told Swedish radio that the side would have likely continued if it had secured Champions League qualification.
“It is like a bolt from a clear blue sky,” midfielder Elin Rubensson told fotbollskanalen.se. “I didn’t have a clue, no one did. I was really shocked, sad and confused. I didn’t understand anything. I still hope that someone can come in and save the club.”