Manchester United Women head coach Casey Stoney believes football is in danger of being destroyed without fans.
The Premier League, EFL, The FA, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have written an open letter imploring the Government to allow supporters to return safely to stadiums.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, his EFL counterpart David Baldwin, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham and FA Director of Women’s Professional Game Kelly Simmons have all signed the letter which calls for the return of the test-event programme and consistency in Government policy regarding the re-opening of certain venues and events.
Speaking ahead of Manchester United’s WSL game at Tottenham on Saturday, Stoney said she fears for the game if fans are not allowed back in.
“I think we have to have fans back in the grounds,” said Stoney. “I don’t understand the decision especially when I see cinemas open, the Albert Hall is potentially going to have 3,000 people in it in December, yet we can’t use an open-air space which is one of the safest [places] to get fans in especially in our stadium.
“We could get three, four, five thousand in and they could be socially distanced.
“It’s our national sport and we’re in real danger of it being destroyed at the moment.
“It’s a huge concern, we’re trying to grow the game. We’re trying to make sure that the visibility is there.
“I don’t just worry about us. I worry about football because without the pyramid, without the football pyramid, without League One, League Two, non-League, the Championship and the Women’s game, football can’t exist as it is.
“So it’s a huge concern, we want our fans in the ground. It does make a difference.
“You don’t get any advantage at the moment and I genuinely cannot understand why you can’t. It’s the inconsistencies for me, I don’t understand it.”
Christen Press and Tobin Heath outsold any of Manchester United’s male players in terms of shirt sales in the first three days following their arrival.
The US Women duo were two of many high-profile WSL signings this summer, and their names were clearly in demand from United supporters across the globe.
“I think it says a lot about the women’s game, this football club and those players in terms of what they’ve achieved within the game and the fanbase they’ve got across the US and how well-known they are,” Stoney said.
“It is massively positive because not only does it mean people are putting female names on the back of their shirts, it means that there’s revenue coming back in and that just helps us as a club.”
During the brief international break, there is still £250,000 up for grabs with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.
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