Staging Euro matches at Man City’s Academy Stadium branded ’embarrassing’

Iceland’s two matches at the stadium have already sold out along with six other fixtures.

By Press Association Published: 19 April 2022 - 4.21pm

Iceland international Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir has branded the use of the Manchester City Academy Stadium as a venue for this summer’s European Championship “disrespectful” to women’s football.

The stadium, which hosts Manchester City Women’s games, is the tournament’s smallest ground and will stage three group matches, including Iceland’s clashes with Belgium and Italy in July.

Lyon midfielder Gunnarsdottir told the Their Pitch podcast: “I’m a little bit disappointed with some of the stadiums that we got. It’s shocking. You’re playing in England, you have so many stadiums, and we have a training ground from City.

Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir, second right, is unhappy with the use of the Manchester City Academy Stadium
Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir, second right, is unhappy with the use of the Manchester City Academy Stadium (Paul Harding/PA)

“It’s just embarrassing. Women’s football today, they’re filling out the stadiums. If you see Barcelona against Real Madrid, we have 95,000 watching the game.

“They are not prepared for that, that we will sell more tickets than 4,000. It’s disrespectful towards women’s football at this stage because it’s so much bigger than people think. But there will be games in big stadiums and I’m pretty sure they’re going to be sold out.”

Organisers revealed on Tuesday that eight matches have now sold out, including both of Iceland’s contests at the City Academy Stadium.

All of England’s group matches are sell-outs, with the opening clash against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6 the latest to hit capacity.

Gunnarsdottir has urged a rethink, saying: “I don’t know what’s going on in their heads or if they’re even following women’s football. Because if you would, it’s just common sense.

“Women’s football’s exploding, it’s getting so much better, and it’s just stupid to speak about it because it doesn’t even make sense.

“They should 100 per cent reconsider it, because I think you see the reaction and how fast the tickets are going and how popular it is, they have to reconsider their decision.”

The PA news agency has contacted UEFA and the Football Association for comment.

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