Women's FA Cup: Wembley final should have 50,000 crowd, says Emma Hayes

By Tom GarryBBC Sport
Emma Hayes
Emma Hayes led Chelsea Ladies to last season's FA Cup, lifting their first major trophy

Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes wants to see a crowd in excess of 50,000 at Wembley for the Women's FA Cup Final.

Holders Chelsea will face Arsenal on 14 May, after beating Manchester City in extra time in Sunday's semi-final.

A competition-record crowd of 30,710 was at Wembley last year as Chelsea won the first Women's FA Cup final hosted at the national stadium.

"Hopefully we'll turn 30,000 into 50,000-plus. I think that's doable," Hayes told BBC Sport.

"I'm looking forward to that beautiful, glorious pitch."

Arsenal, who have won the competition 13 times, beat Sunderland 7-0 in their semi-final to set up the first all-London final in the capital since the Gunners beat Charlton Athletic at Loftus Road in front of a crowd of just over 12,000 in 2004.

"Seeing the semi-final draw, I think everybody would have said, for the women's game, it would be great to see an Arsenal-Chelsea final at Wembley," Hayes continued.

"It will be another historic day. We'll have the benefit of having been there before."

Fran Kirby
Substitute Fran Kirby won the semi-final with Chelsea's final attack on Sunday

Faith in Fran

The holders were heading out of the competition, trailing Man City 1-0, before Ji So-yun's free-kick drew them level and England striker Fran Kirby won the game in the 120th minute.

"I kept saying to Fran throughout it, 'you're going to get your opportunity'," Hayes added.

"Even as the clock was ticking, I said 'she needs one' because her confidence is not as high as it has been, because she hasn't had a lot of minutes playing for England.

"But I had faith in her. I believed there would be one moment.

"Manchester City are a top team and I thought for 60 minutes they were the better team. Once we made the substitutions there was only one team that was going to win it.

"We grew into the game. We deserved it, come the end. I'm so proud of them for their character, their togetherness."

Arsenal host Chelsea in the league on Thursday, with neither side wanting to lose ground on early leaders Manchester City.

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