74,000 fans at the start: EM must turn things around despite UEFA restrictions

74,000 fans in the beginning
EM must achieve turning point despite UEFA restrictions

UEFA itself obviously really can’t believe how much interest the European Women’s Championship is in England. One thing is already clear: the attendance record was broken even before the opening. The sport is hoping for a quantum leap, but there are criticisms too.

The attendance record was already broken before the first ball rolled. Over 500,000 tickets ahead of the opening match of the 13th Women’s Football Championship between England and Austria on Wednesday (9 p.m. /ARD and DAZN) Sold. About 74,000 fans are expected to start at Old Trafford in Manchester. Hosts and national coach Martina Voss Tecklenburg anticipate a “great football festival” – and the FA “the largest European women’s sporting event in history”.

Former Wolfsburg resident and world footballer Nadine Kessler, who is responsible for UEFA’s women’s football, said UEFA wanted to “break as many records as possible”. In addition to the digital and television range, this also applies to the number of visitors: the record for the European Championship is 243,400, and this is the number that came in 2017 in the Netherlands. “We want to show how far women’s football has come in Europe, and why so many players are playing here today looking forward to a professional career,” Kessler said in an interview with Elfen magazine.

The 34-year-old promised: “The level of Euro 2022 will not be compared to previous tournaments in terms of sport and organisation.” However, not all of the 700,000 tickets for the 31 matches of the second European Championship after 2005 were sold on the island. And despite all the euphoria, the fact is that some matches take place in small arenas – for example at the Manchester City Academy Stadium with a capacity of 7,000. Iceland captain Sara Gunnarsdottir of the Champions League-winning Olympique Lyonnais called it “disrespectful” and “embarrassing”.

Half a dozen favorite titles

UEFA is paying 16 million euros in bonuses this time around, which of course does not come close to more than 330 million euros from the 2021 European Men’s Championship. According to the FA report, 54 million pounds (about 63 million euros) will be delivered during the tournament in the nine stadiums. . It is said that 250 million television viewers watch the games in 195 countries. The organizers, UEFA and national associations such as the German Football Association hope to make a lasting impact on their sport, which is still not entirely acceptable.

The allure of this European Championship, which will take place this summer without an international men’s championship competition, is also its sporting balance: No fewer than six teams – including England, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Norway – are believed to be capable of the title.

The selection of Germany, who recently failed at the European Championship 2017 and World Cup 2019 in the quarter-finals, is considered a handbag. “Insgesamt nehmen 16 Mannschaften teil – und ich bin sicher, acht können sich berechtigterweise Hoffnungen auf den Titel machen. In solch einer außergewöhnlichen Konkurrenz können wir uns keine großen Fehler erlauben”, sagte Voss-Tecklenburg vor dem ersten Gruppenspiel des Rekord-Europameisters gegen Dänemark Friday (9pm / ZDF and DAZN) In an interview with “FAZ”. She can only advise every football fan: “Check it out, it’s worth it.”

‘The amount of interest he has grown is insane’

The dream of the final on July 31 at sold-out Wembley is still alive with the German players – especially with the previously untitled England side. Nearly 20,000 spectators wanted to watch the host nation’s friendly match as they beat the European Championship holders, the Netherlands, 5-1. In addition, the English Premier League is considered to be the financially strongest on the continent.

The team’s expectations for superstars Lucy Bronze and Elaine White are high. “It would be England’s success if they got to the final and lifted the cup,” said former BBC international presenter Alex Scott. “With all that effort and everything else they put in in football, they should win the championship.”

First of all, all eyes are on Old Trafford, which promises a great start to the European Championship. “The historical setting should show where the flight is headed,” Kessler said. “It’s really crazy how much interest there is.” The senior official emphasized at the opening press conference in Manchester: “Now you have to make sure that all these doors are open for all girls in Europe so they can play football. That is very simple, but that is the basis for a large audience. And we are not there yet. No. There is still some work to be done.”

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