The FA has just announced the squad for the Nordics U23 tournament to be played in June and England will play the USA, Norway and Sweden behind closed door.
There is no domestic women’s football played in June, so you would think in term of promoting the women’s games, having top quality U23 international teams in England would be a great opportunity to showcase women’s football at a high level ?
But the unfortunately the FA does not see it that way :
“The Nordic Tournament matches will be open to friends, family and invited guests only”
It just reinforces the feeling that if you are part of the in-crowd, you can get access to the games and see the England youth teams play. If you are not in, well, tough luck.
I note also that when the Nordic tournament is played abroad, you don’t seem to have a problem attending the games at all. I have seen those games in Sweden and other fans saw them in Norway as well without problem.
The same thing happened with the recent UEFA U16 development tournament played behind closed door in England and then a month later England played a six nations tournament in Italy and I attended the England U16 v France U16 game without trouble.
I think the FA has used Loughborough University, the Lilleshall’s National Sports Centre and St George’s Park of course for those behind closed door international games in 2016. I saw also a couple of games at Bisham Abbey in 2015 as well.
It does make sense in term of logistics and costs to use those grounds and save money. If you have good facilities available, why not use them rather than spend money on hiring a ground, security etc.
It is just a pity that fans are not allowed to come and watch. There are certain capacity problems for sure. For example at St George’s Park, where I recently managed to attend the FA Girls Youth Cup final. The stand next to the pitch where the game was played was so small, it was packed to the rafters.
That game was tickets only to the FA guests and the two finalist teams also got a small allocation. I was lucky enough to get a ticket from one of the club but my fellow supporters and friends who wanted to attend the game, did not manage to get in.
So having a quality tournament on English soil with top teams and not make it available to fans probably due to logistics constraints is a bit disappointing.
I think I could probably get a ticket to those games, because in those situations, it is simply a question of knowing someone who can get you access to the games, but is it really what women’s football is about ?
Having the lucky few allowed to watch youth international games, while other fans get frustrated or angry that they are not given access because they don’t know the right persons ?
Luckily enough, the England fans will able to watch the senior team against Serbia around that time.A game played on Saturday the 4th of June at Adams Park.
But for those for example who wants to see Beth Mead tested against top quality U23 international teams, the answer is no.