Ian Wright has called upon the Premier League to invest in the Women’s Super League (WSL) to capitalise on England’s Euro 2022 triumph.
It is England’s first European Championship triumph, and Wright believes that changes must be made to the top tier of domestic women’s club football if the result is to be built upon and “blast the women’s game”.
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“It’s absolutely about what happens now and grassroots,” Wright said on the BBC. “What we want to do is continue to produce the quality that we’ve seen [in the final].
“This generation of ladies have had to fight and scrap for everything.
“It’s up to the FA, I think the FA should take over grassroots and get rid of all those barriers to get more people into the grounds.
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“For me, someone like the Premier League take over, commercialising the WSL. We need to get more money into the women’s game in order to get more quality teams and start to really blast the women’s game.”
Since an inaugural season in 2011, the WSL has grown substantially, and the league last year signed a significant three-year broadcasting deal with Sky and the BBC.
Average attendances across the league reportedly stand at just short of 2,000, with a stated ambition of reaching an average crowd of 6,000 by 2024.
Wright has spoken regularly about the difficulties he has found trying to access tickets for Arsenal games, and believes that the league’s strategy requires a rethink to encourage supporters to attend.
“What we want to see is we want people to be able to go to the WSL games,” Wright explained. “We want to make it easier for those people to go to the WSL games.
“For instance we’ve got the first few games of the season, [Arsenal] are playing against Man City at 7pm on a Sunday night and it’s on television. That’s not encouraging people to get there, how are they going to get there?
“We’ve got to make it easier for people to get there, get people in the stadiums because these are the players that they’re watching. Two of those clubs, Arsenal and Man City, they’ve got stacks in this tournament of players and they have to play at that time.
“Who does that? Who makes that decision? The players want fans in those stadiums. You’ve got to make it easier for them to get there. Why don’t they have an away end allocation? Why do I as an Arsenal fan have to be a member of all the WSL teams to get to an away game? They’ve got to move those barriers.
“It will be [going around the world] because what they’ve shown is that there is an appetite here for it, an appetite here for the women’s game. We’re seeing politicians jump on, we’re seeing brands jump on, eating off the top of what they’ve done because of this tournament.
“But what you want to see, because you’ve got a World Cup coming up next year, you want to see them continuing to put money into the WSL, put money into the women’s game so they can continue to bring success for us. There’s too many people who will eat off the top of this.”
The 2022/23 WSL season is set to begin on September 9.
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Source: Euro Sports