Arguments for the football tent to be set up permanently
To: Umeå City Council, the Municipal Board and Umeå Leisure
As football associations in Umeå We submit this letter to you.
The need for a training facility during the winter has previously been expressed in a joint statement by the football associations Tegs Södra IF, IFK Umeå, Guif, Röbäcks IF and Mariehems SK. In February 2022, the associations received a written response from Umeå leisure signed by Ari Leinonen, chairman of the leisure committee and Stefan Hildingsson, director of leisure Umeå municipality. From the written response, it was clear that the municipality expected that the football areas in winter would more than quadruple with the construction of the Thorenhallen and the football tent, which justified the municipality’s decision to close the possibility of using the Nolia football hall and the sports hall. The increase in training space would mean a strong investment in football, both for children, youth and senior teams, while the increase was considered important for the development of the existing elite sports high school and other school activities in Umeå municipality.
Unfortunately, this investment has in reality only meant a doubling of the training area as the football tent is still packed away in a garage. We, who represent some of the largest football associations in Umeå, completely agree that this is completely inadequate for both current and future football-playing children, young people and seniors, and that a football tent packed into a garage has extensive negative consequences for both the broad and elite activities, as well as sending a shimmer of laughter over Umeå as a sports city.
We are aware that the football tent is associated with both fixed and variable costs of a significant nature and think that clear arguments are therefore needed as to why Umeå municipality should prioritize that the football tent be removed from the garage and set up permanently. From our perspective, the most weighty arguments are the following:
- Increased availability: By offering a soccer tent, we increase accessibility to soccer activities all year round for both children, youth and seniors. Without the tent, the width that is a prerequisite for future elites is affected above all. The elite who largely motivate children and young people to start and continue playing football.
- Promotion of physical activity: We express ourselves based on our football activities, but we see the whole tent in a wider perspective. By offering an indoor environment for football training and matches even for those who do not belong to the elite, we contribute to promoting a healthy lifestyle and reducing sedentary behaviour. With the football tent, the possibility for other businesses to find reasonable hall times also increases, as football chooses the tent. This, in turn, increases the municipality’s opportunities to actively contribute to the ambitions that come up in many other contexts in terms of getting more people to move and exercise and that, above all, children and young people should be able to be offered activities that attract more people.
- Possibility of continuous training. Children, young people and adults need to maintain physical and technical skills during the long winter months. Without continuous training, individuals will not experience the development that motivates as many as possible to continue with football for as long as possible. For our elite activities on both the women’s/girls’ and men’s/boys’ side, the soccer tent is needed to be able to prepare in an optimal way for their respective seasons, then linked to training hours and training areas in the form of full-field times. This without sacrificing the youth team’s training hours.
- Development of sports talents: By offering a soccer tent that enables year-round soccer for more people, the municipality can support the development of young sports talents who reach their full potential. Without the tent, Umeå football will continue to have great difficulty competing with more prominent football municipalities and lose our local football talents.
- Umeå needs a soccer team at an elite level. A city of Umeå’s size needs elite-level football teams on both the women’s and men’s sides. It is important that there are role models for children and young people and we therefore need help to create the conditions for our young players to be able to reach the top. The need for another training area for football training during the winter is essential for Umeå’s wide associations to be able to maintain the football interest of their members so that in the long term there are enough players for Umeå’s elite activities.
- Creation of social meeting places: Football is not only a sport but also a platform for social interaction and community cohesion. A football tent can function as a meeting place where young people and other football enthusiasts can meet, socialize and participate in joint activities. It can help build strong community ties and promote a sense of belonging within the municipality.
- Crime prevention work. Boredom and lack of meaningful activities can be factors that lead children to explore negative behaviors and delinquency. A structured routine and employment in the form of football training and matches in winter helps to keep children and young people busy and engaged and thus away from more unsuitable environments. As pointed out above, More halls means more hall times which can give more children and young people the opportunity for active and meaningful activity and leisure.
- Umeå wants more! For several years, Umeå has been awarded sports city of the year. Soccer is one of the biggest sports in Umeå. According to Västerbotten’s football association, there are 36 associations in Umeå that conduct football activities. For many young people, football is the only other sport they play, and therefore it is especially important that Umeå can offer football training even in winter.
We wish that Umeå Municipality will find a solution regarding the football tent as soon as possible in order to give more football players the opportunity to practice football even in winter in Umeå. In a city of Umeå’s size and with the ambitions to be a nationally recognized sports city, it must be apparent to us football associations that Umeå Municipality invests in both broad and elite activities. We need such an investment that gives us greater opportunities to continue our non-profit work to give Umeå’s young people a meaningful leisure activity and experience the joy of developing together.
We would therefore like an answer from Umeå municipality about when we can expect the football tent to be unpacked from the garage and set up permanently.
We who stand behind this letter are the following football associations:
Eva Moe, chairman Guif’s football committee
Fredrik Strandgren, Umedalens IF football section
Andrea Collén, club manager IFK Umeå
Hans-Åke Rönnlund, chairman Mariehems SK
Lars-Erik Östberg, chairman TegSödra Umeå IF
Henrik Bergdahl, Täfteå IK
Kjell-Arne Kemi, chairman Sörfors IF
David Persson, association chairman Sandåkerns SK
Håkan Bäckström, chairman Umeå FC
Lena Sandlin, chairman Umeå IK
Daniel Sätre, chairman Ersmarks IK
Gustav Paringer, chairman Hörnefors IF
Hussein Tamir, chairman Ersboda SK
Daniel Mårelv, chairman of the Sävar IK football section
Per Lindberg, chairman of Sandviks IK
Andreas Lindström, chairman of the football section Sandviks IK