The attendance record in women’s football reaches an all-time high

Barcelona Femení made history in March by breaking the attendance record for a women’s football game. The first leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final against Wolfsburg saw an impressive 91,648 spectators.

This comes just three weeks after they originally broke the record attendance of 91,553 with their game against Real Madrid in the previous round of the Champions League. Barcelona Femení usually play at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, the men’s team’s training ground, with a maximum capacity of 6,000.

Barcelona won the semifinals 5-1, with a brace from Ballon D’or winner 2021 Alexia Putellas, as well as goals from Aitana Bonmati, Caroline Graham Hansen and Ballon D’or runner-up Jennifer Hermoso. Jill Roord scored Wolfsburg’s consolation goal in the 70th minuteth Minute.

Previously, the record attendance for a women’s game was 90,185 at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

Barcelona Femení secured their third consecutive league title after beating Real Madrid 5-0 with six games to go in March. The team has won all their games this season and finished the season with a maximum of 90 points on a goal difference of 148.

Previously, the attendance record for a women’s game was 90,185 at the 1999 Women’s World Cup final

However, the team’s winning streak ended with a 2-0 defeat in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Wolfsburg.

Barcelona Femení couldn’t repeat last season’s treble either. The team failed to defend the Women’s Champions League title, losing 3-1 to Lyon. Captain Alexia Putellas scored Barcelona’s only goal to take their tournament tally to 11. This made her the top scorer of that season.

However, the team still has a chance to secure the double for this season. Barcelona meet Real Madrid again later this month in the semi-finals of the League Cup, the Copa de la Reina.

The performances of the women’s team shine against the background of a turbulent season for the men’s team. After a bad start, they finished 9thth place in the table and with it the dismissal of Ronald Koeman as coach. The team did not make it past the group stage of the Champions League in December. In April they failed at Eintracht Frankfurt from the Europa League. Around 30,000 Frankfurt fans attended that game, although they were only allocated 5,000 tickets, an incident for which many fans have criticized the club.

That record turnout has also sparked debate over the choice of venues for the forthcoming 2022 UEFA European Women’s Championship, which takes place across England this summer. Iceland player Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir has criticized the decision to use Manchester City’s Academy Stadium. Due to UEFA tournament rules not allowing the use of standing stands, the venue will only seat 4,700 fans, making it the smallest stadium at this year’s Euro.

The performances of the women’s team shine against the background of a turbulent season for the men’s team

Speaking to ‘Their Pitch’ podcast, Lyon player Gunnarsdóttir referred to the sell-out crowds Barcelona have achieved this season, describing the election as ‘disappointing’ and ’embarrassing’. She also said it was “disrespectful to women’s football” considering how much football has grown in recent years, adding that decisions like these make no sense and are setting women’s football back.

Nevertheless, attendance records are expected at the tournament this summer. Eight games of the tournament have been sold out so far, including both of Iceland’s matches at the Academy Stadium. All English group matches are sold out, the first being against Austria on July 6thth at OldTrafford. The final at Wembley is also sold out. With a total of 87,200 tickets sold, the final will break the all-time attendance record for a women’s game in England.

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