Wembley packed house for women soccer show


Record attendance for Womens FA Cup Final Image: Coliseum GSVA

A record-breaking crowd of 77,390 were at Wembley Stadium in London (UK) connected by Everything Everywhere (EE) (mobile network operator) on May 14th to see the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final between Chelsea F.C. Women and the Manchester United W.F.C.

‘The FA’ stated that smashing the previous attendance record of 49,094 at last year’s Final, the 2023 edition went even further with tickets for the clash between the current top two in the Barclays Women’s Super League (WSL) being sold out well in advance of the game.

The 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London (UK). It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium hosts major football matches including home matches of the England national football team, and The Football Association (FA) Cup Final.

The Women’s FA Challenge Cup Competition is the top annual cup tournament for women’s clubs in English football. Founded in 1970, it has been named the WFA Cup, FA Women’s Cup and now Women’s FA Cup (Vitality Women’s FA Cup for sponsorship reasons).

The Chelsea Football Club Women, formerly known as the Chelsea Ladies Football Club, are an English women’s football club based in Norbiton, Kingston upon Thames (UK) that competes in the Women’s Super League, the top flight of women’s football in England. Since 2004, the club has been affiliated with Chelsea F.C., a men’s team in the Premier League. The 2,265-capacity Kingsmeadow in Norbiton (UK) serves as their residence. They also play in the 3,002-capacity Wheatsheaf Park in Staines-upon-Thames, England (UK).

The Manchester United Women Football Club is a professional football club based in Leigh, Greater Manchester, England (UK), which competes in the Women’s Super League, the top tier of English women’s football, after gaining promotion from the Championship at the end of the 2018-2019 seasons. The 12,000-capacity Leigh Sports Village in Leigh, England (UK) serves as their home facility.

Hatfield (UK)-based the EE is a British national mobile network operator and Internet service provider, which is a brand within the BT Group. The EE is the second-largest mobile network operator in the United Kingdom, with 26.1 million subscribers as of September 2021.

London (UK)-based the Football Association (FA) is the governing body of association football in England and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.

‘The FA’ further stated that and there was a bumper turnout on the day, with Wembley packed to set the new record of highest crowd to watch a women’s domestic club fixture anywhere in the world.

Said Baroness Sue Campbell, FA Director of Women’s Football, “To break the world record is a massive statement and a wonderful marker as to where the women’s game has come in this country. A lot of credit goes to all of the players and the clubs in the Barclays Women’s Super League, the Barclays Women’s Championship and below that, but also credit to everybody that’s worked at The FA to make sure this is a reality. “I’ve said before that we’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got an incredibly long way to go and we know that. But it’s another marker in the sand that the game in United Kingdom is now alive and well, flourishing and growing.”

It was a target to sell out the Women’s FA Cup Final in the FA’s current four-year strategy for women’s football, ‘Inspiring Positive Change’, which was set out in October 2020.

And after previously seeing another of those targets of England winning a major tournament secured last Summer, Baroness Campbell is now looking to go even further.

She admitted, “When we set out in our strategy to sell out the Women’s FA Cup Final back in 2020, I didn’t expect it would happen so soon and it’s pretty special to break the world record. I do think this is all part of the continued EURO bounce. What happened when people came to the games, not just the England games but anywhere in the country, they just enjoyed the vibe and the environment so much. Everyone had such an incredibly good time and they realized that what they were watching was world-class football and world-class sport. That bounce has just continued and I think people love the experience of coming to Wembley.”

Added Campbell, “And the players have done an amazing job in terms of their performance so the level of the game now is just increasing year-on-year. It speaks volumes on where our competitions leagues have got to. We have to remind ourselves that we only became a full-time professional league in 2018. This is still very early days for the professionalization of the women’s game, but it speaks volumes of what’s happened and how well the leagues and the clubs are doing and the sort of following that the players are starting to get as individuals. In the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship (the second-highest division of women’s football in England) games, even in Tier 3 and 4 and our Women’s National League, we’ve seen much bigger numbers such as the Newcastle United W.F.C. getting over 22,000 to a game in Tier 4. There’s a real interest in the women’s game and I’m delighted and thrilled to be filling Wembley Stadium for the Cup Final – it’s terrific.”

The Women’s Super League, known as the Barclays Women’s Super League for sponsorship reasons, is the highest league of women’s football in England. Established in 2010, it is run by The Football Association and features 12 fully professional teams.

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