The Iceland international Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir has branded the use of the Manchester City Academy Stadium as a venue for the European Championship this summer as “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 fixtures with Belgium and Italy in July.
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. 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 [official attendance was 91,533] 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.”
Organizers 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 sellouts, with the opening game against Austria at Old Trafford on 6 July the latest to hit capacity.
Gunnarsdottir has urged a rethink. “I don’t know what’s going on in their heads or if they’re even following women’s football,” the Lyon midfielder said. “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% 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.”