Women’s World Cup was ‘a balloon that deflated,’ says Carly Telford

Suzanne Wrack
The Guardian
<span>Photograph: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images

The England goalkeeper, Carly Telford, has criticised the efforts of France as Women’s World Cup hosts, describing the tournament as “a balloon that deflated quickly” and has called for the Football Association to learn from the mistakes by making the 2021 home European Championship the “best competition in women’s football history”.

“I felt the crowds were good, especially the England fans – when we were up north they were amazing – but the feedback from friends and families and people that were involved was that it wasn’t well hosted,” the Chelsea goalkeeper said. “A lot of the towns and cities weren’t as kitted out or as football-friendly as they needed to be and I think we can learn from that.

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“If we can host in the right cities at the right times and give people a real buzz, then I think we can host not only the best Euros in history but one of the best competitions in women’s football history.”

From the ticketing scandal, which led to families being seated separately for some games (news of which broke before a ball had been kicked), to many key host cities showing little evidence of a World Cup taking place, Fifa and the local organising committee in France found themselves the focus of much unwanted attention.

Telford said what England’s players saw on television, including less than full stadiums, and what they came across when visiting family and friends left them underwhelmed.

“And then what our friends and family were saying,” the 32‑year‑old said. “Walking around the cities there was no real guidance to where the stadiums were, where the fan zones were, and there wasn’t much in the fan zones.

“Considering how well the Netherlands had hosted the Euros and Canada the World Cup it was a little bit disappointing, because you’d class France as one of biggest hosts in Europe.

“It was a balloon that went up and deflated quite quickly. I’m not sure we left a mark in France in terms of having a World Cup there or not. We fed it back to our guys and we said: ‘Let’s not do this in 2021.’”

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