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Lionesses attendances: Sarina Wiegman comments on low turnout for Austria friendly

Lionesses attendances have been rising at a phenomenal rate over the past couple of years with women's football experiencing an unprecedented boom in light of England Women's Euro 2022 victory.

After selling out Wembley for the final against Germany two years ago, the Lionesses have followed that up with further impressive attendance figures. More than 70,000 fans turned out to watch them play the Netherlands at Wembley in December and a few months earlier they came close to selling out the King Power Stadium in a match against Belgium.

Last year, the FA announced that England Women would play two friendly matches in Algeciras against Austria and Italy. The first of those friendlies took place on Friday night at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador, a small stadium with a capacity of just over 11,000. Under 1,000 people were in attendance as England won 7-2, and the decision to play the match in Algeciras has come under fire.

Lionesses attendances
Less than 1,000 fans turned up for England Women's most recent friendly – Photo by Icon sport

Lionesses attendances: Wiegman defends decision to play overseas

The decision to play in Algeciras was all to do with the climate in the region. Wiegman wanted to take her players on a warm-weather training camp and thought it made sense to therefore play a couple of friendlies as part of that.

A consequence of that has been less interest, with just 949 fans purchasing Lioness tickets for their match on Friday night, with many people pointing to the stadium's remote location as a significant problem. For Wiegman, the low attendance wasn't a huge problem and was something she was expecting. She said:

“We want good friendlies in good circumstances – so we have very good pitches here, the weather is always nice so we can stand still a little bit and have good training sessions. We did know there were probably going to be fewer fans than we would have hoped.‘There were fans here on Friday and they enjoyed it. I hope the fans at home watching it enjoyed it too.’

“We will be back home in April, June and July and the rest of the season we will play a lot in England so I hope that connects with the fans enough.”


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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