Emma Hayes insists ‘women’s football is TOO CHEAP’ but praises Arsenal selling 50,000 tickets for Tottenham clash… as Chelsea boss calls for recognition that international breaks are ‘good opportunity for women’s game’ to stage major clashes
- Emma Hayes wants big clashes to be played during men’s international breaks
- Arsenal’s derby clash against Tottenham will be played at a sold-out Emirates
- All 50,000 tickets sold for the game have been paid for without being given away
- The Chelsea boss praised the Gunners’ promotion of Saturday’s grudge match
- But Hayes believes clubs need to build to 8-10,000 attendances at grounds
- She also called for the WSL not to ‘get stuck at’ 12 teams but to expand further
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes says women’s football is ‘too cheap’ but believes Arsenal selling 51,000 paid-for tickets for tomorrow’s north London derby is a huge step forward.
Arsenal could break the attendance record for a women’s domestic match in the UK when they take on Tottenham at the Emirates tomorrow if they surpass a crowd of 53,000.
Unlike some previous women’s games held at men’s stadiums, no tickets have been given away for free.
Emma Hayes called women’s football ‘too cheap’ after Arsenal sold 50,000 tickets for the Spurs clash
Hayes praised Arsenal for their promotion of the fixture and insisted women’s football needs to work towards a sustainable growth.
I’ve said it many times, women’s football is too cheap and I will stand by that. I think selling out [the Emirates] if it does sell out, there’s hope it sells out and if not what a tremendous job anyway.
‘Whether they’re paying £10, or [more] it’s a step in the right direction, the next step is the recognition that men’s international breaks really work as a really good opportunity for the women’s game.
‘So let’s make sure we build that into the calendar throughout the whole year and that might not be achievable now. Let’s make it a regular thing, every international break that we may even align the fixtures in such a way that they are big showpiece games. It might not always be that it’s league play during then it might end up being Champions League play. But I think that’s probably the next step while building a strategy around, what does the medium term look like?
Arsenal’s derby clash with Spurs will be played in front of a sold-out Emirates Stadium
‘What is the stadium that only holds 5000 that sells out for the big games but doesn’t sell out 5000 every week and is still at 3000 for the vast majority? How do we build towards that 8-10,000 marker, whether that’s upgrading our own facilities to looking at new facilities.
It’s important for the players to keep producing the quality on the pitch, because that’s what ultimately makes people tune in and makes people come back. So that’s my part to be played.’
Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall also commented on the importance of the tickets being paid for. ‘Remember it’s 50,000 sold tickets, not 50,000 given away,’ Eidevall said.
Gunners boss Jonas Eidevall highlighted that no tickets have been given away for Saturday
‘Doing it that way, it’s sustainable. Football clubs need revenue and ticket sales are important for revenue.’
Chelsea have sold out their game with Manchester City at Kingsmeadow this Sunday but Hayes believes clubs need to build towards crowds of 8-10,000 rather than looking to move to bigger stadiums.
The Swedish manager claims Arsenal’s approach is more sustainable
‘I don’t believe in extremes, I think you’ve got to keep building one block at a time. I think it’s just doing that instead of looking for something like “why don’t we have 51,000 every week?” I don’t think we’re at that stage yet. How do you turn the 51,000 or 60,000, if it gets that the North London Derby, into more consistent fans that we sell out every game, every week, and that we start building the platform towards the next steps of bigger stadia on a more regular basis basis.
‘The rush into the next piece for me can be quite dangerous. You’re almost better to stick with where you are and then have a really clear medium to long-term strategy and that for me is about the leaderships, not just internally at every club but the league leadership.
That’s where I think we need to be reflective about, as well as expansion to the league, for me that’s important too – making sure we keep growing the league, don’t just get stuck at 12 [teams]. I think we’ve got to expand our league to become bigger in that direction.
‘I’ve had internal conversations, these exact conversations without any outcomes but I know that the conversations are happening and I hope that not just clubs like ours but clubs across the board we are being really considered about how best to do that when we know finally we’ve got the momentum we’ve all been looking forward to.’
The Chelsea boss has called for the WSL to aim to expand beyond just the 12 sides