Euro 2022 organisers defend use of Man City academy ground amid criticism

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The Manchester City Academy Stadium will generate “a great atmosphere worthy of a Women’s European Championship”, tournament organisers have said.

Iceland international Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir branded the use of the 4,700-capacity stadium for Euro 2022 as “disrespectful” to women’s football.

The stadium, where Manchester City’s women’s team play their home games, is the tournament’s smallest ground and will stage three group matches, including Iceland’s clashes with Belgium and Italy in July.

Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir, second right, is unhappy with the use of the Manchester City Academy Stadium
Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir, pictured during her Wolfsburg days, is less than impressed by the suitability of the venue (Paul Harding/PA)

Lyon midfielder Gunnarsdottir told Their Pitch podcast she felt some of the stadium choices were “shocking”, adding that Iceland would be playing at “a training ground from (Manchester) City” before labelling the situation as “just embarrassing” for the sport.

Tournament organisers revealed on Tuesday that eight matches have now sold out, including both of Iceland’s contests at the City Academy Stadium and all

All of England’s group matches are sell-outs, with the opening clash against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6 the latest to hit capacity.

In response to Gunnarsdottir’s comments, a spokesperson for Euro 2022 said: “Manchester City Academy is not a training ground. It is the official home stadium of Manchester City Women’s Football Club.

“It has been used previously for UEFA Women’s Champions League fixtures and will generate a great atmosphere worthy of a Women’s Euro.

“Iceland’s two opening fixtures have sold out, alongside six other Euro 2022 fixtures, which highlights the huge level of interest in the tournament already.

“We believe that with two of the biggest football stadiums in England (Old Trafford and Wembley), four venues with a capacity of 30,000 or more, two venues over 10,000 and two stadiums under 10,000, the right mix of stadiums has been chosen to provide the tournament with a platform to fulfil its potential.

“We are confident that many matches will be sold out and are looking forward to more than doubling the total attendance of UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 in the Netherlands and delivering the best ever UEFA Women’s Euro.”

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