The interest is huge, the demand is higher than ever and it is already clear that there will be a record-breaking European Football Championship in England. The games are almost all sold out, with a contingent of 700,000 tickets, almost twice as many as for the EM 2017 in the Netherlands. At the end of March, the Champions League game between the players of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou already caused a stir with a record crowd of over 90,000 spectators. So the development is rapid and not only Spain, but also France and England are trying to gain more popularity. However, the organizers were too modest when selecting the ten EM venues, as the past few months have shown. While Old Trafford and Wembley still hold the opening game and final, the other stadiums don’t have nearly as much space. Manchester City’s Academy Stadium only seats 4,700, and Rotherham’s New York Stadium (12,000) and Leigh Sports Village (8,000) don’t have much space either, but two quarter-finals are played there, unimaginable at a men’s European Championship.
Sure, the EM was planned a few years ago, when it was not necessarily foreseeable that women’s football would develop in many countries and England’s association (FA) doesn’t want to hear much of the criticism either, because people wouldn’t have them just kicked in the door to host games, says FA chief executive Mark Bullingham. They were based on the number of spectators at the last European Championship, to which 247,042 people came to the Netherlands. The claim should be different for a football-crazy nation like England – even if it’s not easy with clubs like Manchester City, who prefer to hold concerts at the Etihad Stadium because it’s more financially worthwhile.