Former England international and BBC pundit Alex Scott has blasted Premier League clubs who refused to host the Women’s Euro matches this summer after England clinched the tournament with a stunning extra-time win against Germany at Wembley last night.
The Lionesses won the country’s first trophy since 1966 thanks to late Chloe Kelly winner, the The Manchester City striker crosses the line with just ten minutes to play in front of a cheering crowd of 87,192.
The game was level at the end of the ninety minutes after Lina Magull equalized for Germany following Ella Toone’s opener, a superb finish chipped after Keira White’s exquisite through ball above the defense.
The victory was hailed as a landmark moment for women’s sport in Britain, but former Arsenal midfielder Scott explained how difficult it had been to convince men’s Premier League clubs to agree to host matches when the competition was scheduled for 2018.
“Let’s also remember that in 2018 we were begging people [Premier League clubs] to hold games in their stadiums for those euros and so many people said no,’ Scott told viewers after being on BBC One live coverage full time. ‘I hope you are all looking at yourselves right now because you weren’t brave enough to see the vision.
Of the ten stadiums that hosted matches during the tournament, only four are Premier League venues. Although matches took place at Brighton, Brentford, Manchester United and Southampton grounds, players and fans criticized the selection of other venues with much smaller capacities, which led to reduced crowds for the matches involving the best players in Europe.
The matches took place at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium, a 7,000-seater arena a stone’s throw from the 55,000-seater Etihad Stadium the club uses in the Premier League, while the likes of Stamford Bridge, Emirates Stadium, St. James ‘Park and Anfield have played no participation in the tournament.
For Scott, who has won 140 international caps in an illustrious career, England’s success at the Euros means the clubs, businesses and brands she and others have spent so long at” beg” to support women’s football have definitely missed the mark.
“I had a conversation yesterday,” Scott added. “I don’t stand up at corporate events in front of sponsors anymore to beg them to get involved in women’s football, because you know what?” If you’re not involved, you’ve missed the boat, you’ve missed the train. Because look at this… he’s finally left the station and he’s picking up speed.
For presenter Gabby Logan, Premier League clubs who refused to host matches when asked will now know they made a significant mistake.
“A lot of people commented during the tournament, didn’t they?” Logan said. ‘”Why aren’t there bigger stadiums?” And it all goes back to 2018. Then in 2019 there was a very big hit World Cup in France and I think a lot of those clubs then thought, ‘We made a mistake. And today… they definitely made a mistake.
Logan rounded out the BBC’s coverage of the tournament with a simple message to elated viewers and bigoted detractors in equal measure, saying: “Think it’s all over?” It’s only just begun.
MORE: England players attack Sarina Wiegman’s press conference after Euro 2022 triumph
MORE: England v Germany player ratings: Ella Toone stars as Lionesses win Women’s Euro 2022
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