Nadine Kessler, head of women's football at UEFA, says the organisation has high ambitions for the W
Updated: Jul 19
UEFA's head of women's football, Nadine Kessler, has refuted charges that the organization lacked ambition in choosing the venues for the next Euro 2022 tournament in England, where attendance records are expected to be broken.
The record crowd for a match in a women's European Championship will be broken twice, once at Old Trafford for the first match between England and Austria and once at Wembley for the championship game.
On July 6 and July 31, two historic events, the remaining 29 games will be held emphasize, relatively smaller venues.
Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir of Iceland, a midfielder, called the choice of Manchester City's 4,400-capacity Academy Stadium for three group games "embarrassing" and "disrespectful."
Four games, including a quarterfinal, will be played at the Leigh Sports Village, which has a seating capacity of 7,800.
The total number of tickets sold is slowly approaching 500,000, which is more than twice the number of spectators who watched the last women's Euro in the Netherlands five years ago.
But there are still more than 200,000 seats available, and Kessler acknowledged that the venues selected had to be grounded in "reality." "to enhance the stadium feel as much as possible.
"We still believe that it was the right choice, "told AFP, Kessler.
"I usually emphasize that even while we should strive for the highest aspiration, we also shouldn't lose sight of reality, and by reality, I mean the past. If we exclude the Netherlands matches from the count, the average attendance at our most recent women's Euro was 5,000.
"I don't think you can argue the event organizers have not enough desire if you increase the tournament capacity from 430,000 to 720,000."
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the football calendar caused a 12-month delay in the event, which was originally scheduled to take place in 2021.
The 2019 World Cup set a record for the most viewers ever, however, Covid-19 slowed some of the growth of the women's game.
But the women's game has seen a significant change in the five years since the last Euro.
Last season, the women's Champions League saw a significant alteration with the debut of a group stage, which was the work of Kessler.
Money has poured in from new sponsors, media rights deals, and clubs that are now willing to spend a lot of money to raise the bar for their women's teams.
"I expect a noticeable difference from 2017; my anticipation is quite high." "Kessler clarified what to anticipate on the field.
"I already saw this when watching some domestic football as well as the entire Champions League season.
"Both proved that there is a significant improvement in what transpired with the professionalization of everything and rising standards surrounding the teams in many countries.
"It simply makes sense that you can see the results on the field as well."
One of the eight times Die Nationalelf has won the competition in 12 editions, Kessler was a member of the German team that won the Euro in 2013.
However, the pre-tournament favorites are the hosts, England and Spain, who are hoping to win a women's major championship for the first time.
Realistic challenges include France, the Netherlands, and Olympic silver medalists Sweden. Ada Hegerberg of Norway and Pernille Harder of Denmark will provide their countries with two of the best strikers in the world.
"It's encouraging that so many teams and competitors have publicly stated their want to compete, "Kessler added.
"The pyramid's peak grew a little wider. We specifically need something to generate more interest."