Professionals find it "embarrassing": Mini stadiums at EM cause huge trouble

More than 90,000 fans watch Champions League games, but there are two mini stadiums for the European Football Championship that don't even offer 10,000 seats.

Professionals find it "embarrassing": Mini stadiums at EM cause huge trouble

More than 90,000 fans watch Champions League games, but there are two mini stadiums for the European Football Championship that don't even offer 10,000 seats. The footballers reacted indignantly, complaining about the limitation of the attention that would be possible for them. UEFA sees no problem.

An EM stadium that doesn't fit 5,000 fans? For Iceland star Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir that is simply disrespectful. "Embarrassing," complained the former Wolfsburg resident, that Manchester City's Academy Stadium was the arena for three group games at the Women's European Championship in England.

A discussion has broken out: are such mini stadiums still up-to-date given the explosion in spectators in women's football, when more than 90,000 people are now watching Champions League games at the Camp Nou? Those affected say: No!

"I was hoping it might change," said Bayern Munich's Hanna Glas. The defender joins the Swedes in their final group game against Portugal at the 8,000-seat Leigh Sports Village. "We want as many people as possible, so it's a shame," agreed teammate Rebecka Blomqvist, who is under contract with VfL Wolfsburg. There is also criticism from Germany. "That shouldn't be the requirement at a European Championship that is so hyped," wrote former international Annike Krahn in her "Kicker" column: "I would have expected that UEFA would choose stadiums that could seat at least 10,000 spectators Find."

Her former national team-mate Nadine Kessler, UEFA head of women's football, defended the European Football Union's strategy as the right way to create the best possible atmosphere. In an interview with the AFP news agency, the ex-world footballer referred to the "ambitious" increase in the "tournament capacity from 430,000 to 720,000".

The EM is loudly dubbed by the organizers as the "biggest women's EM of all time" - the bare numbers: The previous record (247,041 at the EM 2017 in the Netherlands) has been pulverized by almost 500,000 tickets sold for the total of 31 games.

The tournament, which was postponed by a year, is framed by two highlights. The opening game between England and Austria next Wednesday (9 p.m. / ARD) at Old Trafford in Manchester, the final on July 31 in Wembley, which was also sold out - the attendance record from the 2013 European Championship final between Germany and Norway (1-0) in Solna/Sweden (41,301) is cracked several times.

The other games take place in much smaller stadiums. But it is also true that more than 200,000 EM tickets have not yet been sold. And: The organizers literally had to fight for venues when it came to awarding the 2018 finals. "If you think people have kicked in our door to host games, think again," said FA chief executive Mark Bullingham. However, under the impression of constantly breaking attendance records in Europe, he admitted: "The event that we are holding this summer will be far larger than the event that we planned and expected when we applied."

The DFB selection is spared the problem. The record European champions caught a hammer group in the draw, so they play in the preliminary round against Denmark (July 8th) and Spain (July 12th) in London-Brentford (17,000 seats) and against Finland (July 16th) in Milton Keynes ( 30,000).

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