Emma Hayes has called for women’s football to be more ambitious with regard to ticket prices and the number of games hosted at clubs’ main stadiums following Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
First half goals from Sam Kerr, Erin Cuthbert and Guro Reiten saw the Blues three points in front of 38,350 fans.
Chelsea frequently sell out their 4,850 capacity Kingsmeadow home, but Sunday’s match was the first WSL fixture hosted at the Bridge since the opening day of the 2019/20 season.
“I’d like to be here more,” Hayes admitted. “I think we all know that solving the conundrum in the women’s game around what do we do from small stadia, is there a medium term plan to go to medium size stadiums before eventually everyone comes home to the large stadium? I don’t know, but I’m absolutely certain we’re all outgrowing our small stadiums, that I’m sure of.
“But I know the players want to play here more, but also there is a business cost to playing [in main stadiums] and I think one of the biggest things that perhaps we don’t talk enough about is how cheap women’s football is. I really believe we have to increase the overall pricing structure if we’re to play more in these places, because there is a cost implication to it.
“I think the audiences are there, not for every game, but certainly for maybe eight games, 12 games a year. We have to be realistic – not realistic, we have to be more ambitious for ourselves. Is it too cheap to watch women’s football? I think it is.”
The victory also marked Hayes’ return to the dugout following a six-week break from football after undergoing an emergency hysterectomy.
“I felt like I hadn’t been away,” the Chelsea boss added. “Someone asked me the other day how many games of football I’ve coached in my career and I couldn’t tell you, but it would be over a thousand I’d think. So this is the longest team I’ve ever been with and it just felt like I was going back out to my family.”