Manchester City and Chelsea have switched their opening Women’s Super League fixtures next season to the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge.
The clash marks the first professional Manchester Derby between the two sides and to celebrate, kids* are invited to attend FREE of charge.
The highly-anticipated fixture, which kicks off at 3 pm, will also welcome home City’s seven Lionesses, who earned a fourth-place finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and secured qualification to next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Chelsea plays Tottenham at home the following day and entry to that match is free for all supporters. The move is aimed at building on the increased interest in women’s football after the World Cup.
England’s semi-final loss to the USA, the eventual winners, was watched by a peak television audience of 11.7m viewers on the BBC – a new record for women’s football in the UK.
Chelsea announced their latest venue switch as a “celebration of women’s football” following England’s performance, while Gavin Makel, City’s head of women’s football, said the club “wanted to kick off the new season with a bang” following the Lionesses’ fourth-place finish.
Last week, City and PUMA unveiled the Club’s new 2019/20 home and away kits, kicking off a new kit partnership that aims to go beyond the pitch, including a focus on empowering the women’s game.
As part of their growing commitment to women’s football, PUMA has joined forces with City to present the Manchester Derby and fans can expect a number of exciting activations to come in celebration of the landmark fixture.
It will be the second time that City’s women’s side has played a game at the Etihad, having beaten Everton there in the League Cup in front of less than 1,500 in May 2014.
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Likewise, Chelsea has also previously played at Stamford Bridge, having hosted Wolfsburg in a Champions League tie in 2016 which was watched by a crowd of 3,783.
The London club is now looking to bring in a bigger audience, with Chelsea making entry to their match on Sunday, 8 September completely free at the 41,000-capacity stadium.
A record-setting move?
Relocating matches to bigger stadiums are nothing new in the women’s game in England, with Arsenal sealing their league title at Brighton’s Amex Stadium in April in front of a new WSL-record crowd of 5,265.
The record surpassed the 5,052 who watched Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in 2012.
Chelsea and City are the latest in a fast-growing list of major football clubs to move a women’s game to their home ground.