Euro 2022: Iceland's Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir criticises 'training ground' Euros venue

Iceland playing two of their European Championship group games at a “training ground” is a “shocking” decision, says midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir.

The tournament is being held in England and the hosts’ opener against Austria at Manchester United’s Old Trafford on 6 July is a 73,200 sellout.

Iceland face Belgium and Italy at the Manchester City Academy Stadium, which has a capacity of 4,700 for the Euros.

The stadium is part of a wider training complex but hosts City’s women’s games.

However Gunnarsdottir told Their Pitch podcast: “I’m a little bit disappointed.

“It’s shocking. Playing in England there are so many stadiums and we have a training ground from City taking what, 4,000 spectators.

“It’s embarrassing. It’s not the respect [we deserve]. Watch women’s football today, they are filling out the stadiums. You see Barcelona and Madrid, 95,000 watching the game [at Camp Nou]. They [Euros organisers] are not prepared that we will sell more tickets than 4,000.

"It's disrespectful towards women's football because it's so much bigger than people think. You think women's football is getting two steps ahead but then something comes up like that it's just a step back."

Iceland midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir.

The Lyon midfielder added: “I don’t know what’s going on in their heads or even if they follow women’s football.

“If you did it’s common sense, just follow women’s football today it’s exploding. It’s getting so much better. It’s just stupid to speak about it because it doesn’t even make sense. It’s frustrating to be honest.

“They should 100% reconsider it because of the reaction and just see how fast tickets are going.”

All three of England’s group games have sold out – they also play at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium and the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium – as has the final at Wembley.

The Football Association and Uefa have been approached for comment.

 

Euros group stage venuesCapacity for the Euros
Old Trafford73,200
St Mary’s Stadium31,600
Bramall Lane30,400
Brighton & Hove Community Stadium30,300
Stadium MK28,600
Brentford Community Stadium17,600
New York Stadium11,000
Leigh Sports Village8,100
Manchester City Academy Stadium4,700

Original article published 19.04.2022 on The BBC Sport website.

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