England women's games 'could be at bigger stadiums'

A record crowd at the Wanda Metropolitano for Atletico Madrid women versus Barcelona women
England's Toni Duggan was one of Barcelona's goalscorers as they beat Atletico Madrid in front of a record crowd in March
International friendly: England Women v Canada Women
Venue: Academy Stadium, Manchester Date: Friday, 5 April Kick-off: 19:15 BST
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Four and BBC Sport website & app from 19:00 BST; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

The Football Association is in discussions about using bigger stadiums for England women's autumn friendlies.

This week England women boss Phil Neville said Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal should "throw open" their stadiums for women's football matches.

The FA's head of women's football Baroness Campbell did not rule out grounds like Old Trafford hosting games after this summer's World Cup.

"We're having conversations with much bigger stadiums," she said.

"Should the Lionesses do really well this summer, I think we're on a very different trajectory into the autumn than we are right now.

"We have to plan well ahead both in terms of who the opposition might be - because we don't have to qualify for the Euros in 2021, so next year we've got a sort of fallow year in that we're not in a knockout competition, so we're already having to look at who our opposition are - and where we might play them. Those plans are already well in hand."

The Lionesses play Canada on Friday in their first match since lifting the SheBelieves Cup in the USA. The World Cup warm-up is being played at Manchester City's Academy Stadium, which has a capacity of 7,000.

Asked if playing at a smaller venue showed a lack of ambition on the part of the FA, Campbell replied: "It's a fair comment. However, Manchester City have been amazing partners for us, they have invested massively in the women's game.

"So yes, you're right, we want to be more ambitious, we want to fill much bigger stadiums, but equally we want to continue to respect and work with the partners who have got us where we are, so we have to make those judgement calls."

Manchester United and Manchester City have both confirmed they are open to the possibility of staging domestic women's matches at Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium next season.

It comes after recent high attendances for women's matches across Europe, including a top-flight domestic record of 60,739 as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid on 17 March.

In Italy Juventus women beat Fiorentina 1-0 at the Allianz Stadium in front of 39,000 fans - a record for a women's game in Italy.

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