A record-breaking Women’s Euro 2022 is quickly approaching, with over 450,000 tickets sold for the eagerly-anticipated tournament set to take place at 10 stadiums in nine cities.
England are hosting the tournament for the second time in history, having also done so in 2005, and if there’s any indication as to the direction women’s football is going in, it’s that the Wembley Stadium final was sold out in under an hour.
Getting underway on July 6 at a sold-out Old Trafford, the tournament has significantly eclipsed that of the 2017 edition, hosted by Holland, which was watched by 240,045 fans.
The Women’s Euro 2022 is now right around the corner, running from July 6 to July 31
The rising demand to catch a glimpse of the women’s game was evident last season, when a new attendance record was set as 91,553 fans watched the Champions League quarter-final second-leg between Barcelona and Real Madrid, a record that was broken just a month later as 91,648 watched Barcelona beat German side Wolfsburg 5-1 in the first-leg of their semi-final.
However, the choice of stadiums for the impending tournament has emerged as a major talking point, with some of the players and managers unhappy about some of the lesser stadiums in use.
The lowest capacity stadium at the France World Cup in 2019 was 18,000, but this summer there will be three games at the Manchester City Academy Stadium, which will have a capacity of just 4,700.
The inclusion of 8,100-seater Leigh Sports Village has also been questioned, particularly with Wembley and Old Trafford both to be used on only one occasion. With such a disparity between the grounds, Sportsmail takes you through all 10 below.
Capacity: 32,702 Location: Sheffield Games: Four Home club: Sheffield United
We start with Bramall Lane, home to Championship side Sheffield United. The 32,702 capacity stadium will play host to four games throughout the tournament, including three group stage clashes.
These come in Group C, where reigning champions Holland will look to progress towards a potential semi-final clash against England.
Bramall Lane will host four games throughout the tournament, potentially including England vs Holland in the semi-final
Home to Sheffield United, Bramall Lane is the oldest football ground still in use, having been built in 1855
The first semi-final – which England will play in should they win their group and overcome their quarter-final opponents – will also be held at Bramall Lane on July 26.
The stadium is enriched in history, being the oldest football ground still in use, having been built in 1855. Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground was built earlier in 1807, but it started hosting football games later, in 1864.
Bramall Lane, which was host to the first-ever floodlit game in 1878 , was initially a cricket ground when it opened in 1855, with the first football match to be played there coming later in 1862.
Brentford Community Stadium
Capacity: 17,250 Location: London Games: Four Home club: Brentford
Brentford Community Stadium was the smallest ground currently in the Premier League last season, with a capacity of just 17,250.
The Bees moved into the new-build only in 2020, having relocated less than a mile from their former ground, Griffin Park, where they had been based since 1904.
Like Bramall Lane, there will be four games played at the Premier League ground throughout the tournament, including three enticing Group B clashes.
Brentford’s 17,250-capacity stadium is the smallest currently in the Premier League
Group B is undoubtedly the tournament’s ‘Group of Death’, with the Brentford Community Stadium to host tournament favourites Spain in their clashes against Germany and 2017 runners-up Denmark.
Brentford Community Stadium is one of two London-based stadiums in use throughout the tournament.
Brighton & Hove Community Stadium
Capacity: 31,800 Location: Brighton Games: Three Home club: Brighton
Next on the list is another Premier League ground in the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium, where England will play one of their three group stage clashes.
That will be against Norway on July 11, which is already completely sold out. Austria vs Norway will take place at the stadium four days later.
The Brighton & Hove Community Stadium will also host the first of the four quarter-finals, which will include England should they finish as Group A winners.
Brighton & Hove Community Stadium will host England’s group stage game against Norway
Though not built quite as recently as the Brentford Community Stadium, the venue is one of the newer builds at the impending tournament, having opened in 2011.
The Amex, as it’s otherwise known, has hosted numerous women’s football games in the past, including Arsenal’s WSL title triumph over Brighton in 2019.
Leigh Sports Village
Capacity: 8,100 Location: Manchester Games: Four Home club: Manchester United Women
Moving on to the second smallest stadium at the tournament, we have Leigh Sports Village, which is where Manchester United’s Women play their football. Leigh Centurions Rugby League team also play at the venue.
The 8,100-seater will host all three of Portugal’s encounters, against Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden respectively.
Portugal weren’t initially set to compete in the tournament, but they were given a place after Russia were removed due to Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
There will be a capacity of just 8,100 for the four games played at Leigh Sports Village
The third quarter-final clash will be held at Leigh Sports Village on July 22, where Holland could come up against one of Italy, Belgium or Iceland, or, less likely, France.
The venue was opened in 2008, initially as a home for Leigh Centurions. It was used in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, while United’s youth team moved there in 2014, and United Women in 2018.
Interestingly, the stadium also houses a campus of Wigan and Leigh College as part of a wider sports facility.
Manchester City Academy Stadium
Capacity: 4,700 Location: Manchester Games: Three Home club: Manchester City Women
The Manchester City Academy Stadium been the most controversial inclusion in the list of venues, with its capacity of 4,700 the lowest used for any women’s European Championship or World Cup match since 1997.
The venue will host three Group D games, being Belgium vs Iceland, Italy vs Iceland and Italy vs Belgium.
Iceland, who had an average of 2,000-3,000 fans present at each Euro 2017 match, sold out their 700 available seats in minutes. Iceland captain Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir has described the stadium’s inclusion as ‘shocking’.
The inclusion of the 4,700-capacity Manchester City Academy Stadium has been heavily criticised
Iceland’s Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir insisted its inclusion is ’embarrassing’ and said ‘it’s not the respect we deserve’
‘I am disappointed with the arenas we have been given,’ said the Iceland captain, whose side will play against Group D rivals Italy and Belgium in Sportcity.
‘It’s shocking – we play a tournament in England with several large arenas, and we get to play at a training facility that takes around 5,000 spectators.
‘It’s just embarrassing and it’s not the respect we deserve. They haven’t prepared for the fact that we can sell more than 4,000, it is disrespectful to women’s football.’
UEFA immediately bit back. ‘Manchester City Academy is not a training ground. It is the official home stadium of Manchester City Women’s Football Club,’ a spokesperson responded. ‘It has been used previously for Uefa Women’s Champions League fixtures and will generate a great atmosphere worthy of a Women’s Euro.’
The stadium is home to Manchester City Women, with the venue used for their Champions League semi-final home legs in 2017 and 2018.
New York Stadium
Capacity: 12,021 Location: Rotherham Games: Four Home club: Rotherham
The New York Stadium is one of two Yorkshire-based venues being used for Euro 2022, with four games to be played at the home of Championship side Rotherham United.
France, who are among the favourites to win the tournament, will play all three of their group games at the Yorkshire stadium.
Four games will be played at the Rotherham’s 12,021-seat New York Stadium this summer
The stadium will also host the fourth quarter-final on July 23, where France will once again likely play.
It was opened in 2012 and given its name to pay homage to the history of the ground it was built on, which was historically called New York. The site was also previously owned by a steel foundry, where the iconic red New York fire hydrants were made.
Capacity: 74,879 Location: Manchester Games: One Home club: Manchester United
Just the single match will be played at Old Trafford – home to Manchester United – throughout the tournament, being the opener between England and Austria on July 6.
Unsurprisingly, given how quickly the Wembley final sold out, tickets for England’s opener are now also unavailable, though hospitality packages are still an option, starting at just £160pp.
Old Trafford will host the opening game of Euro 2022 between England and Austria
The stadium, which was opened in 1910, is the largest club ground in English football and has hosted numerous mammoth events, including the 2003 Champions League final, as well as matches at the 1966 World Cup and Euro ’96.
Capacity: 30,500 Location: Milton Keynes Games: One Home club: Manchester United
Next up we have Stadium MK, home to League One outfit MK Dons, which will host four games throughout the tournament.
Finland will play all of their group stage games at the 30,500-capacity stadium, taking on Spain, Denmark and Germany.
Stadium MK could host a huge semi-final clash between Spain and France if results go as expected
Stadium MK, which opened in 2007, will also host the second semi-final, which could be an enticing affair between France and Spain should results go as expected.
The stadium has hosted numerous men’s and women’s U21 games throughout the years and, like the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium, it was used throughout the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
St Mary’s Stadium
Capacity: 32,505 Location: Southampton Games: Three Home club: Southampton
The penultimate stadium is Southampton’s St Mary’s ground, which has a capacity of 32,505 and will host three games throughout the tournament.
This includes England’s final group stage game against fellow Brits Northern Ireland, another sold-out clash.
St Mary’s Stadium will host England’s final Group A clash against fellow Brits Northern Ireland
The Premier League ground will also stage Northern Ireland’s Group A fixtures against both Norway and Austria.
The stadium, which opened in 2001, previously hosted the 2019 World Cup qualifier between England and Wales, with in excess of 25,000 fans in attendance for the 0-0 draw.
Capacity: 90,000 Location: London Games: One Home club: England
England’s national stadium is already sold out, with some 90,000 fans to cram into Wembley in what will be a record attendance for the showpiece.
The fixture, which England will be desperate to participate in, will take place on July 31 at 5pm. As was the demand for the tournament’s finale, tickets sold out in under an hour.
There will be a record-breaking attendance at a sold-out Wembley Stadium for the final
The spectacle will break the record for the highest capacity in any European Championship game throughout history, in either a men’s or women’s format.
The record is currently 79,115, which was set during the 1964 final at Madrid’s Bernabeu. There were just 67,173 fans at Wembley for last year’s Euro 2020 final, with the capacity limited due to Covid.
The world-renowned stadium has previously hosted the FA Women’s Cup, as well as two Champions League finals and a plethora of domestic finals.