Soccer-Norwegian FA President Klaveness to attend Women's CL final


Soccer Football - Women's Champions League - FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais Preview - San Mames, Bilbao, Spain - May 24, 2024 A man lies down outside San Mames before the match REUTERS/Susana Vera

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - No matter who emerges victorious from Saturday's final between Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais, Norway will boast at least one more Women's Champions League winner, and the country's FA President Lise Klaveness will be watching on.

It has been a busy time for Klaveness, who attended the FIFA congress in Bangkok before flying to spend a day with former U.S. vice-president Hilary Clinton and other female leaders to talk about gender quality ahead of her trip to Bilbao.

The 43-year-old played with Lyon forward Ada Hegerberg, the competition's record goal-scorer, and flying winger Caroline Graham Hansen of Barcelona.

"They are superstars in Norway now, kids wear their jerseys ... and they have also been voices for equality and strong ambassadors," Klaveness told Reuters in a telephone interview as she waited to board her plane to Bilbao.

Hegerberg got on the scoresheet when Lyon beat Barca 3-1 win in the 2022 Champions League final.

"They will be the more disciplined, tactical side and Barcelona will be more unpredictable and want to have players available for passes all over the field," Klaveness said.

Since becoming Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) president in 2022, Klaveness has been outspoken on the subjects of equality and human rights.

"When I was at (the FIFA) congress there was maybe 600 or 700 delegates and maybe less than 30 women, and that was what I focused on with Hilary Clinton ... the gender gaps we talk about in all these other areas, they are even bigger in many respects in football," she said.

A qualified lawyer, Klaveness said she welcomed the advent of big clubs fielding women's teams, but pointed to those sides often having a fraction of the budgets available to their male counterparts as an area for improvement.

That difference is also reflected in wider society, Klaveness said, but there is a generation of female leaders that is growing in influence as they gain experience running large organisations.

"We have a lot of employees (in the NFF) and responsibility for a lot of money ... this is not about politics, it's about safeguarding the game, I think that is needed for the future," Klaveness explained.

With Ingrid Syrstad Engen also in Barcelona's squad, Saturday's final might see two Norwegians secure winner's medals, but once the game is over Klaveness will get back to the work of trying to her work at the NFF.

"I am nowhere near feeling that I've done what I should do yet, but I can look in the mirror and say that I do all I can," she said.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)

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