Iceland Captain and Lyon midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir has labelled the stadiums chosen for this year’s Women's Euro 2022 as “shocking” and “embarrassing.”
This year’s Women's European Championship is being held in England, with the action set to get underway on July 6th when England take on Austria in Old Trafford.
Women's Euro 2022: Iceland captain unhappy with venue choice in England
While large stadiums like Old Trafford and Wembley are included in the competition venues, smaller venues such as the Manchester City Academy Stadium, which only has a 4,700 capacity, will also host games.
🚨 The opening match of #WEURO2022 at Old Trafford has now SOLD OUT of available tickets! 😍
🎟 Tickets are still available for other fixtures at the finals this summer!
Get yours now! 👇
— UEFA Women's EURO 2022 (@WEURO2022) April 19, 2022
The Academy stadium, which is also Manchester City women’s home ground, will host two of Iceland’s games, which are already sold out, a decision their captain does not approve.
“I am disappointed with the arenas we have been given. It is shocking- we play a tournament in England with several large arenas, and we get to play at a training facility that takes around 5,000 spectators.
It is just embarrassing and it is not the respect we deserve. They haven’t prepared for the fact we can sell more than 4,000, it is disrespectful to women’s football.” Said Bjork Gunnarsdottir to the Pitch Podcast.
Despite ticket sales a major success for the tournament, with over 350,000 bought for advance purchase and sales far exceeding the last tournament, smaller venues have been chosen for the tournament.
The likes of Villa Park, the Emirates, Anfield and St James Park were left out of stadiums for the tournament, despite their large capacity.
Women's football has never been as popular, not just in Ireland but all across the world.
Unfortunately, decisions like this undermine the hard work and progress that has been made to ensure players get the recognition they deserve.
Last month saw the highest ever attendance at a women's football match, when Barcelona took on Real Madrid at the Nou Camp.
The attendance for Barcelona v Real Madrid this evening has been confirmed as 91,553 people - the biggest crowd at a women's football match EVER 🏟
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 30, 2022
With the success of ticket sales for Women's Euro 2022 so far, Bjork Gunnarsdottir hopes this can make officials change their mind on venues through the tournament.
“Women’s football explodes and you start to get the respect you deserve. Its getting better-more money is being pumped in now and it’s going into the right direction. But there are still things that need to improve.
“They should 100% reconsider (changing the stadiums). Because if you look at the reactions and how many people buy tickets and how popular it has become, then you have to reconsider.”