Making a point
A new campaign from sportsbook operator Paddy Power has questioned the selection of certain stadiums for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 soccer competition. The tournament began last week and although some of the games are taking place at English Premier League grounds such as Old Trafford, others are slated for smaller stadiums across the UK.
Anyone seen a stadium big enough for a EUROs game?”
Sunday’s fixture between Iceland and Belgium took place at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium rather than the team’s main ground. During the game, Paddy Power erected a large inflatable arrow pointing towards the nearby Etihad Stadium with the caption: “Anyone seen a stadium big enough for a EUROs game?”
Paddy Power tweeted a picture of the inflatable during the game on Sunday:
Demand is high
Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, which boasts a capacity of 55,000 people, stood just 650 meters away from the location for Sunday’s EUROs action. Despite the Etihad being available, competition organizers made the decision to play the game at the Academy Stadium instead, which offers a seated capacity of just 5,000.
Two upcoming games which are also due to take place at the Academy Stadium have already sold out, demonstrating the demand for tickets at the EUROs games. The Icelandic team captain Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir criticized the stadium choice for the game against Belgium, deeming it embarrassing that they had to play at “a training ground from City” in such an important fixture.
The public has its say
Paddy Power has commissioned research to see what the general UK public thinks about the stadium choices. Of the 1,011 respondents, 67% said that the choices are a shame or indicate a lack of respect. Around 66% of respondents believe the decision to play games at these stadiums might prove detrimental to the progress of women’s soccer.
we’re all used to a half-empty Etihad most weeks anyway!”
A Paddy Power spokesperson commented on the issue. They said: “The fear of empty seats really shouldn’t put the footballing bosses off being more ambitious in their stadium selection – we’re all used to a half-empty Etihad most weeks anyway!” They also noted the impressive progress of women’s soccer in recent years.