Gothia Cup is the world’s largest and most international youth football tournament. Each year, around 1700 teams from 80 nations take part and they play 4500 games on 110 fields.
It’s the teams, and participants from around the world that make the tournament unique. A meeting place for the world’s youth, irrespective of religion, skin color or nationality, with football as the common denominator. Our organization consists of eight full-time employed staff and during the tournament works more than 2 500 people.
Gothia Cup was first held in 1975. The tournament was started by the football associations BK Häcken, GAIS and a local newspaper but has been owned since the early 80’s entirely and solely by BK Häcken. Through the years, almost a million players from a total of 146 countries have participated in the tournament.
When it all began, no one could have imagined what the Gothia Cup, a small youth tournament, would become. It was 1975, and the concept of a tournament to which teams from abroad would also be invited was not only unique, it would also prove to be extremely successful. Another unique feature from the outset was that girls were involved in their own class.
The old, yellowing piece of paper still exists on which a number of young enthusiasts wrote down their visions for the new Gothia Cup. It states: ”The Gothia Cup shall be a meeting place for the young people of the world, regardless of colour, gender or religion.” This was written in 1981 and remains the guiding principle for the organisation to this day. With more than one million participants from 143 countries and with a name as the world’s biggest youth event, we can justifiably claim that we have succeeded.
We aim to provide an experience for all participants. The Gothia Cup – more than just football was an expression used for many years. A lot of resources were used on the opening ceremony and other spectacular events. The thought was that no one would travel the world around just to play some football matches.
We’ve always been associated with words like experience, encounters and international football. Right from the outset, the Gothia Cup had a high footballing status. Winning the Gothia Cup was and remains one of the finest things you can wish for as a young footballer. Nowadays it’s an achievement simply to take part.
Being involved in children’s issues away from football and outside Sweden has always been an important element of the Gothia Cup. Our significance beyond the sideline has increased. The schools in the Congo are an example of this. Another is the initiative known as the Kim Källström Trophy, a class for young people with developmental problems. A third is the Meet the World tournament, which is run in partnership with SKF in more than 20 poorer countries. All this is included in the Gothia Cup Foundation, a cooperation between Gothia Cup and the enterprise.
Gothia Cup breaks a new record with 80 participating nations. New nations for us was Botswana and Bahrain. “Celebrate the game”, a campaign we ran for fair play both on and off the field in terms of both supporter control and players, turned out pretty well. The fact that the number of red and yellow cards went down 50% is proof of that. We will also remember the wonderful sound and echo of the crowds during the opening ceremony when the Icelandic team shouted out “volcano” at Ullevi. Two new members were elected into the Gothia Cup Hall of Fame. Hans-Walter Eiteljörge, SC Borgfeld E.V Germany and Hugo Petrella, CEF 18 Tucuman, Argentina.
At Heden Center, we have breaking a new record of spectators throughout the week. We have never seen so many visitors in our 43 years of history at Heden Center.
The Opening Ceremony at Ullevi Stadium was an amazing experience for the 50 800 spectators. The Opening Ceremony ended with a spectacular fire work.
During the week, we have provided live streamed games for free on our website. This new concept has been very popular. A total number of 820 000 unique people have been watching the games via our website. The total number of views during the week reach a number of 2 100 000.